You know that the Emerging Women community is all about sharing our true selves so that we can shine as the uniquely impactful leaders we are meant to be.
That’s why we’re so excited to announce Anne Lamott as a Keynote Speaker at this year’s national event in San Francisco, CA.
Anne Lamott, author and activist, is a model of compassionate faith, unwavering humor and a voice that tells it like it is, on good days and bad.
As a memoirist and as a non-fiction writer, Anne has a gift for being irreverent and profound at the same time. She is equal parts raw honesty and real hope, with an uncanny ability to glide from heart-wrenching to hilarious without irony or detachment from the core of the matter.
She’s prolific about it, too. She’s written seven novels, several books of non-fiction, and three collections of autobiographical essays. She’s a New York Times bestseller, a prestigious Guggenheim Fellow, a nationwide teacher of her craft, and an inductee of the California Hall of Fame to boot. Rock star!
As Cheryl Strayed mentions in the video below, her work transcends itself. Bird by Bird is as much of a guide to life as it is to writing. Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith resonates with religious and non-religious people alike. We can’t wait to see what she brings to the intimate stage at EWLive16 to inspire and ignite the audience.
To get a glimpse of Anne Lamott’s style, watch as she talks with Cheryl Strayed about shitty first drafts, doubt, vulnerability and the universal impact of sharing your personal story:
Do you find it overwhelming to juggle work, life, relationships, wellness and family responsibilities? You may need review your calendar and reevaluate what’s working and what’s not working so you can implement habits that support you for the long haul. The following are 4 tips that can help you find ultimate work-life balance so you can thrive in your life and in your relationships.
1. Stop Trying To Do Two Things Simultaneously: Although employers in the U.S. and some abroad praise multitasking, statistically multi-tasking is a less efficient and effective strategy. First, it sends your stress levels through the roof. And secondly, you are likely to make more mistakes and increase your anxiety level along the way. The key is to develop a one mindfulness skill-set where you focus on one task, stay in the present moment and as a result feel calmer because you are not as easily distracted by alternative tasks that pull you away from the here and now.
2. Take A Personal Inventory Of Your Habits: This is an important first step to evaluate and self-correct habits that are not beneficial for your wellbeing. Do you ever find that you are trying to cram in too many tasks in a limited amount of time? Do you also tend to underestimate the amount of time it takes to complete each task? If so, you probably find that you put a lot of pressure on yourself and set up unrealistic expectations. This leaves you feeling bad as a result. An alternative strategy to increase inner harmony is to increase the amount of time allotted to complete each task and reduce the number of tasks on your to-do list, so you can start setting realistic expectations with clearer, more achievable objectives.
3. Mindfully Increase Your Self-Esteem: By becoming more intimate with yourself and your time you can learn to find your own internal rhythm. The more you become attuned to the sensations and wisdom of your body, the more you can feel intuitively if a choice is uplifting or depleting, expansive or constrictive. By slowing down and giving yourself time, you allow yourself to listen to the voice of truth within and feel empowered to follow your intuition.
4. Give Yourself Breathing Room: Do you tend to overschedule yourself, leaving little room for spontaneity? By incorporating extra breathing room in your schedule to just relax and decompress, you open up space for mindfulness and self-care to become a priority in your life. Delegating tasks to others, getting support and intentionally creating the life and lifestyle you desire is the key to greater fulfillment and inner peace.
Do these tips make a difference in your sense of balance and wellbeing? Share your voice in the comments section.
Andrea Cairella is a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor and owner of True Potential Counseling based in Long Beach, CA. She works with adults and children and specializes in couples issues, trauma, addiction, anxiety and self-esteem and is the creator of Create A Relationship You Love ™an online psycho-educational program for couples. If you would like to access my Free 3-Part Video Series visit TruePotentialCounseling.com to: Avoid the 4 Common Mistakes Many Couples Make And Know What To Do Instead, Learn the 8 Strategies To Strengthen Your Emotional And Physical Bond With Your Partner and Improve Communication In 10 Minutes Or Less.
Exciting news! Glennon Doyle Melton, the voice behind Momastery, is joining Emerging Women Live 2016 as a Keynote Speaker.
This woman is all about the LOVE. Self-love through struggles with addiction, family love through all the mess and the magic, and global love through her charitable fundraising. And she lays it bare for the world to see with some seriously inspirational vulnerability on her blog.
Her latest post on the Compassion Collective, which she leads with Brené Brown, Elizabeth Gilbert, Rob Bell and Cheryl Strayed, outlines how they brought 41,000 people together to raise over $1.3 million dollars to respond to the refugee crisis, which they’ve identified as the worst humanitarian emergency since World War II. And they did this IN ONE DAY.
Her generosity spills over into her book, Carry On, Warrior, where she shares that all of her wisdom, all of her love, originated in the messiest parts of her life. In the video below, she reminds us that when life gets hard, it’s not necessarily a red flag. It might just be a sign that you’re really living.
Have you been inspired by this wonderful warrior? Share your stories with us in the comments.
When I think of Jane Goodall, one specific moment plays in my mind.
It was about 9:30 at night, and she had just finished her brilliant keynote at Emerging Women Live 2015. This was, mind you, after she had flown into San Francisco just that day, done her mic check, prepared for the event and participated in the audience for the talks leading up to hers. Plus she still had a book-signing and a media room interview to go before calling it a night.
I thought she might be tired, so as she stepped down from the stage I offered her my hand. And with classic Goodall grace, she lightly refused my help and alit from the stage like a morning-fresh ballerina in slippers.
With this simple movement, after a long day of long lines and travel and sharing her heart on stage, she helped me realize that that’s the way through. That’s the way to navigate this modern world. Bringing such a level of grace is not only what helped her make such a tremendous impact in her field, it’s also what has given her and her work such longevity.
And that’s what I want to emulate. That’s what I want to start practicing now, so I have it to hold on to in my eighties.
So, what does the incomparable Jane Goodall say we women must bring to the world today? Watch this clip from a video she taped after that night’s book-signing, still brimming with characteristic grace:
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Have you ever started a new exercise regime to improve your health? Have you ever dedicated yourself to reaching a certain goal in your career? What about the dream of having a partner who is just the right fit for you?
Most of us relate to having dreams, goals and hopes for our lives. After all, these aspirations are what ignite the fire that drives you to get up and go after your deepest desires.
I believe big dreams create the magic of your life and are meant to be approached with a curiosity and thirst to fully experience life—bumps and all. By opening up to the idea that the journey is the magic, rather than reaching the actual dream itself, you open the floodgates to love your life right now.
When you give yourself the gift of seeing and experiencing all that is amazing in your life at this very moment, you no longer need to delay happiness until you meet some future goal.
In an effort to simply love life exactly as it is right now, no matter what dreams are in the works, I made this list of reminders and inspirations to put into practice each day. I encourage you to give them a try and see which ones work best for you:
When you step outside of yourself and take a good honest look at how you are showing up, over time you begin to take yourself a whole lot less seriously. There is a real lightness and sense of ease that comes from being able to laugh at yourself and see the humor in a situation.
By regularly checking in with yourself, you may also start to notice the patterns in how you show up and where there may be room to shift and grow.
Being self-reflective in a healthy way helps to strengthen your relationship with yourself. It also builds your self-confidence and resourcefulness in trusting yourself to take steps that are congruent with who you are at your core. Meditation first thing in the morning and writing at any time of the day have become essential tools in building my self-awareness practice. Have fun choosing the tools that most suit your style in order to create meaning and consistency in your self-awareness practice.
Give what you can, whenever you can. It could be spreading kindness through your words, smiles, and helpful acts, or merely being present for those you share space with. When you adopt a generous attitude, it becomes easier to let go of beliefs and judgments that create an ‘us against them’ mentality.
Giving without strings attached or ulterior motives not only brightens the receiver’s day, it also fills up your heart and the moments before you with joy. It feels good to give, so do it as much as your heart desires. If there are times where you can extend your reach out to your local or global community, then do that, too.
Approaching your life with compassion and love may very well be the greatest gift you could give yourself and your community. The ripple effect you create by being content and happy with your life will be felt and may very well become contagious.
Your health and well-being is deeply connected to your feelings and overall attitude. When you feel good in your body, it becomes natural and easy to be happy with life.
We all vary in our abilities and the types of physical activities we enjoy. What may feel great for one person may not for another. The key is to engage in activities that you enjoy and movement that fits your lifestyle and needs. Do what works best for you to create a regular habit of moving your body to help you feel the very best you can.
Deep, intentional breathing is one of the most powerful ways to calm yourself and ease feelings of stress and anxiety. The best part about this particular tool is that it is “built-in,” and pretty straightforward to engage!
When you find yourself in a stressful situation, you are more than likely holding your breath. In these situations, if possible, take a few deliberate deep breaths, holding each for the count of four. Doing this helps calm your body and creates space to refocus your mind away from destructive or overwhelming thought patterns.
The more you practice focusing on your breath, whether that is through yoga, meditation or routinely scheduled times throughout the day, the more likely it will become a habit and natural place to go to transform stress.
Breath may not solve the world’s problems, but it certainly helps to soften the daily stress and tension that often accompanies a busy life.
Gratitude is my number one favorite way to get out of any funk and into the joy of life. When you focus on what you are thankful for, you relive all of the beautiful stories and reasons why your life is worth loving right now–and that feels so good!
There are countless reasons to be thankful. Getting to wake up each day to the miracle of being alive is just one of them. There’s also the air you breathe, the sights you see, and the opportunities and possibilities before you. Your list of reasons to be grateful is as unique as you are, and is yours by design.
I love to start my day reflecting on three reasons I am grateful to be alive, and end it by reviewing three reasons I am grateful for my day. The more you engage in a gratitude practice, the more natural it becomes to scan your world and see new evidence of things to be grateful for.
Being genuinely thankful on a regular basis helps you to see why your life is worthy of loving right now at this very moment.
Don’t delay your happiness for later. Jump in and love the life you are in. You are worth it!
Emily Madill is an author, professional coach and motivational speaker. She lives on Vancouver Island, Canada, with her husband and two sons. She has a BA degree in business and psychology and completed her coach training through Erickson International College. She blogs for Huffington Post and has published multiple esteem building books for children. Emily enjoys an active lifestyle including running, fitness, yoga, and keeping up to the adventurous pace of her family. She is a firm believer in stretching comfort zones and Dreaming BIG! Check out her new book, Fall in Love with Your Life, One Week at a Time.
A: This amazing spontaneous karaoke moment from Emerging Women Live 2015, proving that business leadership, personal growth, and straight up FUN are not mutually exclusive terms.
After two of our favorite authors shared the details of their super-supportive and hilariously honest friendship on stage, Elizabeth Gilbert and Brené Brown led the crowd in an impromptu a cappella version of Gloria Gaynor’s I Will Survive, “dedicated to Shame and Scarcity.”
We love this community of women and the real sense of intimate connection that courses through the entire event. These power women, from audience and stage alike, become our peers – our sisters in revolutionary change.
How breaking our addiction to excitement helps us access our natural, sustainable energy.
Most people intuitively get the concept of switching your energy source from “adrenalin to inspiration.” It’s actually quite similar to switching from oil to solar power. One form of energy creates negative consequences and is limited, and the other is sustainable and life regenerating. We can grasp this concept for our homes or cars, but what about our bodies and our being?
What I call “authentic” or “connected” power is the source of inspired energy. This is the place where we are in tune with ourselves, nature and others. When we are in tune with our authentic power, we naturally source from inspiration. Disconnected, or reactive, power acts through selfish competition, survival, and without regard for others. When we are sourcing from disconnection, we tap into adrenalin. We need to rush, be busy, not be lazy, and get it done when we are in an adrenalin state.
Most people mistake excitement for energy. Energy is energy, excitement is a heightened state which can burn out your natural energy reserves. This one discernment can change your life. Read on to understand the subtleties.
What is living from adrenalin?
For the most part, many of us use our stress response and adrenalin to increase productivity. We think this is the source of energy – it’s the source of the “just do it” mentality. The greater the pain, the greater the gain, so we push through and engage in a competition to determine who can work the most hours and juggle the most activities.
As a society, we are low-level adrenalin junkies. We chase it through caffeine, reality TV, dramatic relationships, Facebook, twitter, constant stimuli, and avoiding silence and stillness. Whether people know it or not, they tend to rely on adrenalin as their main energy source.
But this strategy is excitement masquerading as life-force. Living this way creates high periods of productivity, but they are always followed by the inevitable crash. That crash leaves us feeling low, disheartened, and guilty about doing nothing. Does this sound familiar to you? Here are few more examples in order to determine if you are sourcing your energy from adrenalin.
Signs and Symptoms YOU Are Using Adrenalin as Energy
You can go for HOURS with no food or breaks and be very productive, but then you reach a limit after a couple days or on Fridays when you just can’t conjure up the energy anymore
You feel if you stop for one second you will “get behind”
Fear fuels your motivation
You never feel like you “get there”
You get snippy and irritable
You procrastinate on what matters, but busy yourself with other work (My house is very clean during tax season.)
You experience a lack of self-confidence, fraud syndrome, and FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out)
You are never really full, content, or peaceful but you work hard to convince the world that you are
There is another way! When we are stressed, we cannot access the problem-solving state of mind necessary to relieve our stress. We cannot access intuition and imagination, and yes INSPIRATION. It’s hard to see what’s missing when we’re in this adrenalin soaked, spazzy place. But when we are able to shift to living from inspiration—to a state of connectedness and expansiveness—suddenly what we need becomes as obvious to us as getting a glass of water when we’re thirsty.
What does living from Inspiration look like?
Here are the possible benefits of shifting from adrenalin to inspiration:
Knowing you are enough, you matter, and your life is purposeful
Not requiring outside validation to feel on track in life or on a project
You operate from a place of: “I’m worthy, deserving, and good enough now. From this place, I can create whatever I put my mind and heart to”
Joy is regularly accessible
Your cell phone connection to the big boss of infinite wisdom is your intuition
You become inspired, feeling the desire from within to complete a task and you become an overflowing cup, rather than scraping from the bottom of your will power
You are pulled by your visions, rather than pushed by your self-criticisms
Simple Steps to Implement Inspiration Energy Into Your Life
I highly recommend stopping the search of what to do, and connect to your own inspired state to ask what you need. You know. I know you know. Now love yourself enough to do it, and be it. Remember, living things need life-sustaining nourishment. We need:
rest and work, ebb and flow
food that has nutrition for energy
connection to other living things
You get the picture – doing what lights you up, nourishes you, makes you feel content.
Meditation can help train your connection to your inspired state of being. Here’s a quick practice I call Meditation Injection. It can take place during red lights in your car, bathroom breaks, elevators, waiting on the phone or in a line, waking up or falling asleep, commercial breaks, and so on. Giving yourself an uninterrupted two to five minutes is great. They key is to do what you know you will maintain. Here’s a tip: Set a reminder in your phone to remind you do this Meditation Injection.
Begin to breathe and notice how it feels. Feel the sensations: warm, cold, tingly, or perhaps numb, vacant. You can’t get this wrong, just feel and notice. Feel your breath, notice and inhale and exhale. Notice how your body keeps you alive effortlessly. Notice that it’s all being done for you. The Earth is spinning and gravity is holding you in place. You are basically being hugged by the earth’s magnetic core. You might sigh or you might even tear up with relief and recognition. Inhale. Exhale.
Welcome back home – to being you and being connected to life.
Now you can get back to work and be your awesome, inspired self!
The Emerging Women Leadership Platform is dedicated to supporting learning and collaboration that integrates feminine leadership and catalyzes a vision for a thriving future. Start your 30 day free trial to get in on the live webinars, practices, and connection now!
If you loved our Emerging Women Live 2015 keynote speakers, don’t miss the wisdom from our Emerging Short talks, too. These power talks let us hear from a diverse group of women who are positively using their feminine leadership to change the world. We’ve sifted through our notes and gathered our top nine favorite quotes.
Networking is the unwritten rule of success in business. Your next business opportunity is more likely to come from a loose connection rather than a close one. But first, you need to have connections.
1. Your Network Is An Investment
It’s important to understand what networking is, and what it isn’t. Networking is not randomly clicking on people on LinkedIn. It’s not making a bunch of new friends and it’s not about getting an immediate payoff.
Networking is about nurturing connections over time. The early years are about investing in it – doing some introductions and little favors, inviting people to events or letting them know about a job they might be interested in. If you ask people for a bunch of favors before you do anything for them, they’re likely going to look at you askance.
Like any good investment, over time, your network will yield a return. The return, though, is on the portfolio, not each individual relationship. You may spend a lot of energy on one person and get nothing in return, but another person might introduce you to someone who will turn into a great connection.
2. A Diverse Network Is A Strong Network
Be in a network, not an echo chamber. If everyone is like you, you’ll be comfortable, but you won’t grow. That also means networking outside your company. Colleagues are great, but they aren’t likely going to tell you about opportunities outside of your cubicle.
3. Put It Into Action
Do something nice for someone in your network every week. That doesn’t mean you have to find someone a job, but you can connect two people who should know each other, send over an article that someone may find useful, or give a LinkedIn recommendation.
Deepen one relationship every month. Spend time with someone you want to get to know better, and that doesn’t always mean having lunch. Consider doing something active – inviting them to volunteer with you, or go to a concert or a show.
At the Ellevate Network, we aim to give women opportunities and tools to connect and learn in order to get to the next level in their careers. Whether it’s at an in-person event or online during one of our “Jam Sessions,” women supporting women is just smart business.
Bhakti Chai Shares One Simple Step to Help Your Dreams Come True
C.S. Lewis got it right when he said, “Isn’t it funny how day by day nothing changes, but when you look back, everything is different…”
When you think about it, we put a lot of energy into the world on a daily basis – into our jobs, our families, our personal goals, financial obligations, friendships, relationships, maybe even our dreams. And when you look back over the course of a year, or two, or five, you realize how much has changed, even if your day-to-day routine has more or less remained the same. People tend to overestimate what they can do in a day, and underestimate what they can accomplish in a lifetime.
What if you took a chance, and focused a part of each day on what you are devoted to? Would your dreams of being a business owner finally come true? Would you be living in a place you actually love? Would you turn your side hobby into a true art form? The possibilities are endless when we believe in the power of our intentions and follow through on our commitment to ourselves.
Nearly a decade ago, I started Bhakti Chai with the intention to create a brand that not only offered a delicious chai, but also a company that made a huge impact in the global community. Bhakti in Sanskrit means “devotion through social action,” and I kept this top of mind when launching Bhakti Chai to remind myself of my commitment not only to fulfilling my own dreams, but to changing the world. I manifested that devotion by building Bhakti Chai and then later launched Gita, our social giving platform.
Gita means “Share Your Story” in Sanskrit and is the foundation for Bhakti Chai’s platform for positive social change. G.I.T.A. stands for “Give”, “Inspire”, “Take Action” – the embodiment of what Bhakti Chai intends to do with the Gita Giving project.
This led us to taking the whole idea of taking devotion to the next level by inspiring others to share their devotion with us, and with the world. It’s one thing to know in your head and your heart what you feel devoted to, but once you put that on paper and share that energy with others and the universe, something starts to churn and then suddenly, that idea becomes manifested energy for change.
This year at Emerging Women Live, we asked participants to share their devotion with us by writing it down on a “My Bhakti” card, snapping a photo of themselves with their devotion and sharing it on social media. You can see by the photo that devotion can be big or small – it’s the larger act of empowering yourself to follow it, to grow that dream and intentionally work each day to commit to yourself and to your devotion that matters most.
So, what is your Bhakti?
“And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” – Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist.
Brook Eddy is founder and CEO of Bhakti Chai. She has always been devoted to support those who are authentic, daring, and committed to making a difference in our global community.
To date, more than 100 women—from CEOs and executives to small business owners and transitioning mothers—have participated in our Power Circles program. In true Emerging Women form, they have generously shared their amazing success stories to further inspire and ignite the community.
1. Thinking bigger.
We all know what it’s like to get stuck in old ways of thinking. What once worked wonders can quickly become the reason for a rut. Are you due for an upgrade in perspective? The group dynamic of a Power Circle helps us uncover new modes of viewing a situation, leading to more expansive thinking and creative problem solving.
As Rachelle Reichley, Founder of YAY! LIFE!, puts it, “The exposure here in the power of the circle—where everyone is going in their work, in their relationships, in their career—it’s helped me think a lot bigger, and that has a huge value.”
2. Gaining clarity.
Sometimes we know we’ve got “it” in us, but we’re not exactly sure what “it” is. We know or have an inkling of what’s inside or a spark of an idea, but may not have total clarity. As the NYC 2014/15 Power Circle participants told us, that doesn’t have to be a problem.
“These powerful women will reflect back what is burning inside of you, what wants to shine, what wants to come out, the gifts that we bring to the world.” And for others, like Rachel Allen, Travel Production Tour Coordinator, the circle helped her get clarity for her next steps: “It really helped me define and set the structure for where I want to go and put me on a different path.”
3. Speaking truth.
“The circle helped me find my voice. It helped me figure out my values, my definition of success in my terms, and how I wanted to move forward with my life,” shares a Power Circle participant.
It can be hard to locate our true voice if we’re not exercising it regularly. Power Circles are designed with reflections and practices to help bring out your truth, so you can lead with your most authentic self, loud and proud.
4. Holding vision and space.
Event planner, fundraiser and mentor Susie Mordoh says, “These women have become my sisters. They don’t need to get into my day to day (like family and friends do), they hold space for me, accept me and support me as a person overall. We do that for each other and our visions have been amplified, our frustrations have been protected and our successes have been celebrated.”
What she said!
5. Sharing wisdom.
The beauty of circle lies in the diversity—from life experiences to career levels—of people who participate. In this collective setting, you can leverage the strength and experience of others to help you grow and facilitate your own learning.
The flip side? We all have something to share in this world. Power Circles are an meaningful and impactful place to do that.
6. Pushing boundaries.
One of beautiful qualities of a Power Circle lies in the safe space created. When we feel safe, we have the foundation for deep intimacy and growth.
In the words of Liz Sinnot, Director of Stores for Evereve, “There was an intimacy created that was really critical to this group being successful. It allowed everybody to go beyond boundaries that you wouldn’t normally go beyond.”
Now it’s time to dive in….
“Joining Emerging Women’s NYC Power Circle was the best decision I made!” says Susie Mordoh. Are you ready to invest in YOU? Don’t miss this chance to take your seat in a circle built for elevation and transformation beyond your wildest imagination! Register NOW.
Hundreds of women gathered in San Francisco over the weekend for 4 days of inspiration, authentic connection, feminine leadership training and more. Our lineup of keynote speakers was as influential as ever, including Dr. Jane Goodall, Brené Brown, Elizabeth Gilbert, TEDTalk sensation Esther Perel, Kim Jordan of New Belgium Brewing and Dr. Tererai Trent.
We selected some of the most powerful insights from Emerging Women Live 2015 keynotes to share with you here. Feel free to comment, share, tweet and post your faves, too.
Women’s leadership is on the cusp of a quantum leap.
Female leaders everywhere are inching toward the unknown, leaning into the new, announcing their readiness to the future that attracts them. Our passion, commitment, intention, and will may very well collapse the probability of equality and manifest it into a reality some day in the near future.
Denied access to the centers of power for so long in our history, we have become experts on the margins. We are masters at networking, advocating, circling, co-creating, transforming culture—working for the marginalized in every field imaginable. Women leaders are at the forefront of change from the grassroots to governmental levels.
Not About Me, It’s We
In the 1970’s, when the second wave of feminism washed over this land and changed everything in its wake, the phrase “the personal is political” became a slogan as we discovered together how the culture had shaped and silenced us. There was a sense of “It’s not just ME, it’s all of us,” and that fueled our interest, our outrage, and finally our courage to stand up and speak our truths.
Now, two generations later, young women are assimilating into every institution—corporate, civil, religious, creative—and speaking their truth to power,from power, and about power.
As evolutionary women leaders we are abandoning old tactics and strategies; we are transcending patriarchal, hierarchical models of leadership and creating circular spaces for the surfacing and sharing of collective wisdom. We are creating new vocabularies, replacing words like compete, control, power, motivation with collaborate, co-create, process and transformation.
It takes women only moments to find our commonness, and generally, in every women’s circle, it is always agreed upon that what we are seeking is what is best for the whole. From business women to nuns to non-profit leaders, an awareness of our interdependency underlies every question and answer. And we often believe that if there is a striving to be had, it is to be the best for the world, not the best in the world.
The Value of Questions
Philosopher and scholar Jacob Needleman suggests that the real art form of today is “group pondering.” This resonates as an idea with me, although its execution calls for deep creativity. How does one facilitate “group pondering?” How does a leader mine the wisdom of the group? How do we evolve ourselves into more subtle sowers of collective insight?
The best leaders are the ones with the best questions. The ones who are humble enough to not be the center of attention, but to center the group’s attention. The ones who can laser focus the desire of the group, the intention and will of the group, in order to unleash the group’s ability to create a reality it agrees upon.
After a few decades of facilitating groups for higher levels of leadership and creativity, I’ve come up with some questions that aim at authentic and imaginative truth-telling. Answering these questions will give people an opportunity to find common ground with others, acknowledge what they are passionate about, decide what they are committed to, and proclaim their next steps in the matter.
People pay therapists thousands of dollars for this, but a good leader can bring about these clarifications in a short time by simply asking the right questions and engaging in this kind of group pondering. Here are a few ideas for starters:
What is one thing you know for sure based on your lived experience?
In what ways have you shared that knowing?
In what ways have you advocated on another’s behalf?
What success have you had in this area?
Have you ever felt silenced as a woman? If so, how?
Do you feel an affinity with any marginalized groups? If so, what is your response?
Do you know the difference between your original thoughts and your inherited beliefs?
What inherited beliefs have you disinherited? (about your body? your religion? your sex?)
How have you been changed by another woman’s story or creation?
If someone funded a documentary that you could produce, what subject matter would you choose?
If you had a superpower, what would it be? What would you do as a result?
Where does the imbalance of feminine vs. masculine show up most for you?
What is the impact of that?
In what ways are you bringing more balance to our society?
Tips for Facilitating
If there are many tables in the room, a dividing of the questions and sharing is an excellent way to foster more collective pondering. Introverts often need more time to think about their answers, so it might be wise to list these questions on paper and give people five to ten minutes to reflect and answer. The work of the leader is to create a safe space for sharing, to be self-disclosing and answer a few of the questions from her own perspective before having the group do the assignment.
I read once that the Old English term for leadership comes from the phrase to go first. The greatest leaders are the ones ready to go first, to risk being vulnerable. They speak from their lives. They learn how to master their ordeals, process their tragedies and transform them into stories that hold truths both personal and universal.
If She Can, I Can—The Power of Story
Everything we know happened to us in a story. All the wisdom in our cells came from our trials, our tears, our commitment to keep going in the face of every obstacle. Great leaders tell those stories. They don’t just share what they know. They share how they learned it. That’s what we all hunger for. Those tales of transformation. Those stories that remind us, “If she can, I can.”
You can stop reading leadership books anytime now. Just open up the book of your own life. See what you’ve been up against. See what kept you going. See what you’ve achieved and where you’re headed now. See how connected you are to all the others. And tell those stories. Tell them right from your heart. Don’t be afraid of your tears. This is heart work, after all.
Jan Phillips, is the co-founder and executive director of the Living Kindness Foundation, a co-sponsor of Emerging Women, and an artist and author. She’s written No Ordinary Time, Finding the On-Ramp to Your Spiritual Path, The Art of Original Thinking-The Making of a Thought Leader, Divining the Body, and more. To learn more about her work, you can visit her website.
As women today, we’re hungry to live the truth of who we are at work—and even insisting on it—but how to do that often feels uncharted.
Jane Goodall, PhD, DBE
What’s so remarkable about Dr. Jane Goodall (Emerging Women Live 2015 keynote speaker) is that she not only pioneered science, but she also opens our eyes to how to work from our most authentic self—all starting in the 1950’s.
She didn’t have the “right education.” She didn’t “plan it all out” or follow rules for making it. Rather, she made her preeminent scientific contributions by living the deep truth of who she is. All these years later, her path is still one of the most inspiring I’ve seen. In my work to help individuals and teams combine success and fulfillment, Jane’s life serves as a kind of archetypal map that guides us into authentic territory that’s available to all of us.
Jane’s Early Insistent Actions
At the age of 23, this untrained, captivating blonde Brit was invited to Africa and met a renowned scientist. These facts on their own imply she simply landed in the quintessential right time and place. However, it was actually the momentum of what I call her Insistent Actions that led to her success.
As a little girl, Jane consistently repeated a set of actions, which she honed into valuable skills. Imagine Jane when she was 5 years old, sitting in a chicken coop. Hiding in straw, she was determined to know, “Where does the egg come out?” She waited unobtrusively for hours until she found out.
She also catalogued, drew, and wrote about animals. In countless personal letters, she wove together intricate descriptions of animals she watched. All these actions were unprompted by people or obligations. At 13, she wrote to her friend, “I am home today as I have a cold, and I am practising drawing birds from real life. I am determined to get good at drawing them.”
Like a fish swimming or a rose blooming, these Insistent Actions were native in her. She couldn’t not do them.
She brought to life something inside her—in the words of an E.E. Cummings poem—“which is natural, which is infinite, and which is yes.” We see what is natural, infinite, and yes in 13-year-old Jane as she’s lying on her bed with the sniffles—pencil and notebook in hand, determined to get good at drawing animals.
Dr. Jane Goodall in Gombe National Park
From Insistent Actions to Prodigious Impact
When Jane met her mentor, paleoanthropologist Louis Leakey, his life’s dream was to reveal the mysteries of human evolution. At a time when the typical methods for studying animals were killing them and examining the remains, his vision to observe chimps in their natural habitat was cutting-edge. He knew he needed a keen observer, and Jane’s Insistent Actions—practiced thousands of times over two decades—had shaped her into one. Soon after meeting her, he recognized her observational prowess and said she had “record eyes.”
Despite no formal training, her Insistent Actions developed into her Native Genius—which is something we all have. Native Genius is the intersection of what we love doing and what we’re good at. It expresses itself in a collection of Insistent Actions we do, that we may not notice we do. When we focus, practice, and train those actions, they have the potential to grow into something powerful and useful like Jane’s “record eyes.”
Jane’s life shows us how we can grow our Native Genius from moment-to-moment, starting where we are, regardless of our life circumstances.
Jane called her time studying the chimps “paradise.” That’s because she hit her Native Genius jackpot. She started using her Insistent Actions like never before, in a focused and deliberate way. All of the Gombe Stream Chimp Reserve became her “chicken coop.” Her patient, reverent observing was one of the key actions that made her so successful when living among the chimpanzees. In her first year there, she had already made four pioneering discoveries. The advancements in science were exponential.
Young researcher Jane Goodall with baby chimpanzee Flint at Gombe Stream Reasearch Center in Tanzania.
Trusting Your Insistent Actions
Most of us don’t follow our Insistent Actions with Jane’s kind of devotion, because the uncertainty can be excruciating. We want to know the destination before we begin. We don’t sense our own eyes lighting up when we do them. Even if we do sense the joy, we need to know, “Where will this go?”
The answer we often get from inside is “nowhere,” or worse: “somewhere bad”—for example, a life without love or money. Fear gets in the driver’s seat and we subtly turn away from the spark of YES in favor of something seemingly more productive, more marketable, or more certain. Jane followed the spark of yes without knowing the destination. We can too.
We may be afraid to ask ourselves what our Insistent Actions are. Like the hero in a story, we fear we’ll get all the way to the treasure chest, only to pause, open it, and find it empty. As much as I’ve partnered with people to uncover their Native Genius, I’ve never found the treasure chest empty. Ever.
I’ve also never found it full of useless junk. We always find a collection of Insistent Actions, as unique as a fingerprint. The Insistent Actions almost always have underused energy and creativity behind them. Remember, what made Jane’s “nothing” of watching animals turn into a “something” was her natural, infinite, yes that animated it. We all have that.
No matter what our life circumstances, each of us can spend 15-minutes a week doing an Insistent Action we adore.
We can trust that it will grow and coalesce. Jane shows us the extent to which Insistent Actions are, by their very nature, generative. They generate results, learning, and trying again. Jane shows us that we can risk devotion to our Native Genius without knowing exactly how to make it into something. The Insistent Actions themselves are a map we can trust that unfolds with each step. Following them will pull us forward into the territory of our Native Genius, our thriving, and our most wondrous contributions.
Kristen Wheeler is the creator of the Native Genius® Method which helps people and teams be in the sweet spot of big results and personal fulfillment.
She has consulted for more than two decades with companies about the intersection of human thriving and organizational performance—from multi-national companies with 80,000 employees to small nonprofits with 100 employees. She’s been a speaker and audience favorite at TEDxBoulder and Emerging Women Live. At Emerging Women Live in 2015 she will speak on Vision and Native Genius with Vanessa Loder.
After traveling to nearly 50 countries, many in the developing world, Angela Yost, Kara Wiegand and Lindsay Murphy knew they wanted to give back to the communities that were so impactful to them.
When they witnessed the severe poverty in these communities–from the little girl in Siem Reap, Cambodia who stepped into the sewer while begging for grape soda, to the families in Mumbai, India who were living on the highway medians between a constant flow of traffic–the women were determined to find a way to support these people in a sustainable and economically meaningful way.
Kara, Angela and Lindsay are the co-founders of Threads Worldwide, a fair trade company that brings jewelry handcrafted by artisan women in developing countries to market in the US through a social sales model and online shop. It’s not your average jewelry company. It’s one that is making a real and sustainable impact in the world.
Many of the cooperatives that Threads Worldwide works with employ women who are survivors of sex trafficking, have physical disabilities or are affected by other economic, social or political factors. When these women are taught a tangible skill (jewelery making), paid a fair wage and provided a safe workplace, they begin to emerge out of poverty and start to thrive. Depending on the season, they empower hundreds of women in over 12 developing countries around the world, from Ecuador to Kenya to Indonesia.
In the United States, women join the Threads Worldwide community as Threads Sales Consultants. Sales Consultants show the world how to shop with heart – ethically and consciously. Teachers, business owners, lawyers, doctors and stay-at-home mothers share the stories of the artisan partners while also earning an income for themselves by selling the handcrafted jewelry at trunk shows and within their communities.
Recently, EW had the chance to talk to these inspiring women about bridging the local to the global and the rewarding challenges of creating a social enterprise.
EW: How did the unique business model that Threads Worldwide created come to life?
Kara, COO & Co-Founder:The visions [of poverty] never faded, and that bolstered our resolve to find an answer to the question “What can we do to help?” We were drawn to community commerce, and Threads Worldwide was started as a way to provide a market and income to skilled artisans who would otherwise be limited in their potential.
Lindsay, Director of Artisan Partnerships & Co-Founder: We are very motivated to work with women since women invest up to 90% of their income back into their families in the form of healthcare, education and food. When coming up with business ideas, we were determined to find a way to connect women. Threads Worldwide does just that – both globally and locally – with our social sales model. It’s always so inspiring to hear how our Threads Sales Consultants are making an income for their families while supporting women across the globe.
Angela, CEO & Co-Founder: Exactly. We wanted to provide a scalable way to impact artisans around the world, so we developed a social selling model where women in the US can make money while also making a difference. By becoming a Threads Sales Consultant or by hosting a Threads trunk show, you are contributing to the growth of a community across the world.
EW: What are the challenges of running a social enterprise, especially since this type of business (one with a social mission at the heart) is a relatively new model?
Angela: The challenges are no different from many other young or emerging companies – from getting capital to business development. I think something Kara, Lindsay and I have that gives us an advantage is our really great network. We know really smart and successful people who are willing to introduce us to their networks and help our business grow. There is a lot of power in collaboration.
Lindsay: One of the challenges has been the education piece. Not everyone is versed or familiar with the fair trade movement, but it’s been incredibly rewarding to witness our Threads Sales Consultants take this journey with us, and educate themselves about fair trade, the supply chains of where their clothing and food comes from, and learning how powerful their purchases can be. We work with a cooperative that employs women who are survivors of sex trafficking, and it’s amazing to see how a few of our Threads Sales Consultants are using this story as fuel to run their Threads business, while also becoming advocates in combatting sex-trafficking.
Kara: At the end of the day though, despite any challenge the day presents, we love working with women around the world in true partnership. Threads Sales Consultants wouldn’t be successful without the beautiful handcrafted products made by our Artisan Partners. Conversely, the artisan women can’t thrive without access to the marketplace provided by our Consultants. We know that creating opportunity for and connection between women is the most effective way to create global change and that keeps us going!
EW: Can you tell us more about the jewelry and your products?
Kara: We source handcrafted products from around the world that we love for their quality and style, regardless of their story – but each piece has an amazing story.
Angela: Many of our jewelry items are made from sustainable and upcycled materials, too, from tagua seed to scrap metals. Lots of vibrant and fun pieces… and gorgeous, timeless bracelets, necklaces, and earrings that are great for everyday wear.
Lindsay: The artisans are incredibly talented; we’re continually blown away by their work!
Interested in joining the Threads Movement? Click here to learn more!
Threads Worldwide will be at Emerging Women Live, October 8-11 in San Francisco. Stop by their table and connect with them!
For more inspiring stories of emerging women in the business world, as well as tools and resources for your emergence, check out more of our blog and our podcasts.
The provocative Esther Perel will be joining us to talk about the tantalizing dance between modern love and desire, and how we can reclaim our feminine sexuality as a power source for life and business. Yes, please!
Just watch the first minute of this Esther’s TedTalk. We dare you to not hear a question that resonates with you:
Intrigued? Check out her badass bio:
Esther Perel is recognized as one of the most original and insightful voices on personal and professional relationships and the complex science behind human interaction. She is a best-selling author, practicing psychotherapist in New York, organizational consultant for Fortune 500 companies, and regular speaker on the topics of erotic intelligence, trauma, conflict resolution and infidelity. Fluent in nine languages, the Belgian native is a cross-cultural relationship philosopher, shifting the paradigm of our modern approach to relationships.
Esther points out that in our modern world, we want to experience sexuality not simply for survival or duty. She says, “This is the first time that we want sex over time about pleasure and connection that is rooted in desire.”
She invites us to wonder, “When you love, how does it feel? And when you desire, how is it different?” The push/pull between wanting grounded security and our need for imagination and adventure exists both in our intimate relationships and in the way we relate to our entrepreneurial endeavors.
Masterfully, Esther elucidates how we can reconcile this dichotomy with playfulness and curiosity to activate a truly fulfilling journey. “Sex isn’t something you do, eh? It’s a place you go. It’s a language. It isn’t just a behavior,” she says. That is feminine power in action.
Getting clarity around our loves and desires (and learning to merge the two) is just as crucial to our authentic success in life as a solid business plan.
Emerging Women Live is on a mission to bring both concepts into the forefront to help revolutionary women like you take full advantage of all arenas of consciousness, so you can have the greatest impact as you work to make meaningful change in your life, your community and the world.
Ready to own your wanting and align it with your plans for success?
We hope you’ll join Esther Perel, Brené Brown, Dr. Neha Sangwan, Dr. Jane Goodall and more at Emerging Women Live 2015. Don’t miss out on your ticket to personal and professional transformation!
During the event, Claire will reveal her groundbreaking approach for generating genuine intimacy, deeper connection, creative expression, supportive community, meaningful contribution, and authentic success.
We believe that women will play a profound role in creating a better world for us all – don’t you? Learn how to step into your own power to create the future you dream of with Claire’s free online training.
Discover Your Feminine Power — At No Charge!
We look forward to hearing about your experience. Please come back to this post and let us know what you thought about the class in the comments section below!
I recently interviewed Elizabeth Gilbert for our Emerging Women Podcast on the subject of Creativity and Fear (the focus of her newest book, Big Magic, due out in September). The fact that this wildly successful woman still struggles with fear gives me hope! The insights Liz shared in our conversation are not just for artists and writers. They can apply to any of us who are working on our passions, whether in business or at the writing desk.
Liz’s key to embracing fear: “It’s really about working with your fear and around your fear, without denying it and without attacking it.” But how? Check out these excerpts from my most recent podcast conversation with Liz: Creating Big Magic – Part 1.
5 Ways Elizabeth Gilbert Deals with Fear:
1. Remember that fear has no toggle switch
“Fear is so old and so important that it’s not subtle,” Liz says. “It’s a toggle switch—it just goes on and off.” It lacks nuance, which is so important to creativity and authentic leadership. Its only function is survival.
But she respects fear. “It’s a viable and important human action,” she says. “But it also can get in your way when it comes to creativity, because creativity always asks you to enter into realms with uncertain outcome, and fear hates that. Fear always tries to shut that down.”
There are times and places where fear is very valuable. But when it comes to creativity, we need to put fear into perspective.
2. Start a conversation with Grandfather Fear
It starts with this wise advice Liz gives: “Without trying to get in a war with fear or pretend that it doesn’t exist or be ungrateful to it, we have to have a conversation with Grandfather Fear every time we begin a new creative project.”
Pretending that you have no fear is crazy. Hating fear is reactive, because we’re here as a human race because it helped us survive. It’s important to bring a healthy respect to the conversation, but have the conversation nonetheless.
How does Liz do it? She says to Grandfather Fear: “I know you’re scared because I’m going to expansively do something with an uncertain outcome, but we’re going to do it anyway.”
3. Bring Kid Sister Curiosity into the conversation
Liz talked at Emerging Women Live 2013 about how helpful it is to personify all the different emotions inside of her. In the podcast, she brought up the usefulness of that same technique when dealing with fear.
“I’ve got Grandpa Fear with the hand on the hand brake being like, ‘No one leaves this house!’ and ‘You kids get out of my yard!’ but I’ve also got the really reckless kid sister – Curiosity – who has no sense of consequence and wants to say “yes” to everything.”
Can you recognize those different parts within you? Now that you’ve said “hi” to Grandfather Fear, can you introduce him to Kid Sister Curiosity? Liz says that if you can, and you let them talk to each other, you can begin to approach wisdom.
4. Trust your Central Self to moderate
“Somewhere in me there’s a self who, if I’ve gotten enough sleep, if I am eating well, if I am in a relationship that’s nourishing, if I’m taking care of myself, and if I’m calm and still, can effectively moderate between all of these modalities,” Liz says.
You can tell Kid Sister Curiosity that you love her free-spirit, but to remember that someone has to pay the bills. And tell Grandfather Fear that you appreciate him looking out for you, “but you can put the shotgun down – those are just trick-or-treaters.”
She stresses the importance of recognizing the YOU that is in charge. And if you’re taking care of you, then you can trust yourself to hear all sides and move forward.
5. Keep doing the work
“Inspiration doesn’t owe you anything,” says Liz. Once you’ve found a balance between fear and creativity, you still have to do the work. She gets the good sleep she needs to start fresh. She sits down at 7am to write. She invites Inspiration to the table and then she gets to work.
“But it’s not like the Annunciation where suddenly an angel comes into the room,” she says. “It’s a drag, but I don’t sit there thinking, ‘Hey, you didn’t come to me! I asked you!’ I put the message out. They know I’m there. And I’ll just sludge through it.”
But the beautiful part? She says, “I’ve got one ear open, ready for the unexpected thing.”[inline][/inline]
She’s “ready for the sentence that I didn’t know I could write. Ready for something to change. Ready for something to grow.” And she’s teaching me to bring that open conversation to business, too.
I have to chant this as a mantra a few times before it starts to sink in. I seem to be a magnet for not only things but also experiences – gobbling up both in order to keep things alive and moving. Ah, but that is the irony: a life packed with objects and activities actually slows me down. Big time.
When I first became an entrepreneur, sticky notes were on every flat surface in my home and car. I met with so many people I could barely remember my own name. I was adrift in an endless sea of opportunities, connections, and partnerships. It was impossible to stay prioritized and selective with my time. My life and mind quickly became, well, a mess.
Then I discovered The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, a small book on the Japanese art of decluttering and organizing that has already sold 2 million copies. This is not the standard “neurotic-perfectionist-with-OCD-tendencies-illustrates-just-how-far-I-am-from-remotely-achieving-an-organized-life” declutter book.
Tidying Up is almost spiritual – a perspective on keeping house that reaches far beyond the physical environment. It’s not just a method, but a worldview that cultivates deep personal insight and real resilience in all areas of life – especially business.
The KonMari Method presented in Tidying Up really is life-changing because it allows room for clarity around who I am and what I want, and that’s the secret sauce to becoming an inspired leader.
So out go the bags and bags of clutter from my home and office. And it feels good! Thinking about giving it a try? Here’s 5 reasons you (and your business) will be glad you did.
KonMari Tip #1: “When your room is clean and uncluttered, you have no choice but to examine your inner state.”
I notice that the more clutter I have in my life and business, the more it distracts me from my greatest power source: ME. When clutter sprawls out of control, it captures more and more of my attention until I am spending way too much time managing my space. I feel heavy, distracted and completely disconnected from my intuition and inner wisdom. All that noise makes me lose my way as I become reactive to the clutter rather than proactive with my deepest vision.
Business Tip: Staying connected to your inner knowing is easier when your life and mind are free of clutter.
KonMari Tip #2: “There are 3 approaches we can take toward our possessions: Face them now, face them sometime, or avoid them until the day we die.”
Still hanging on to letters from high school boyfriends, a gazillion drawings from your kids, or papers from business school that you will NEVER refer back to? I do it, too. I accumulate stashes of old baby stuff that might come in handy when I’m a grandparent (my kids are 8 and 5!), endless computer wires and electronic equipment that might magically become useful again at some point, and countless clothes that are a few sizes too small for when I get back into that “skinny” phase.
According to KonMari, people hang on to their stuff because they are either still attached to the past or they have a fear of the future — or both. Getting rid of the things that don’t serve me keeps me in the present moment by letting me process my past and move on into my future.
Business Tip: Don’t hang on to your mistakes – thank them and move on. Staying streamlined in this way allows you to pivot easily and efficiently through the ups and downs of entrepreneurship.
KonMari Tip #3: “The question of what you want to own is actually the question of how you want to live your life.”
For so long women have forced our desires out of our bodies and minds in the name of serving others. As we begin to understand that there is room for both service and our desires, getting clear on what we want has never been more important.
What I love about Marie’s approach is that she doesn’t make tidying the end game of life. She may be a tiny bit obsessive (her “shock” at seeing socks tucked into themselves made me wonder), but she knows that a tidy house is a means to a more important end. “The true goal should be to establish the lifestyle you want most once your house has been put in order,” she says. My read: If you are searching for your purpose in life – throw some shit out!
Business Tip: Discarding what is not working for you in your business life allows your vision to become more clear.
KonMari Tip #4: “Selecting and discarding one’s possessions is a continuous process of making decisions based on one’s own values.”
The act of tidying up your physical space is actually thousands of micro decisions about how you want to live your life. The golden questions: Does this make you happy? Does it bring you joy? When you continuously make decisions based on this criteria, you get better and better at surrounding yourself with things that reflects your desires and values.
I am one month into the process (she says that it takes 6 months for your entire living space), and I am already noticing a difference not only in my home, but in all areas of my life and business.
Business Tip: Making decisions on what to keep and discard in your life builds confidence and aptitude for making decisions in your business.
KonMari Tip #5: “The process of assessing how you feel about the things you own, identifying those that have fulfilled their purpose, expressing your gratitude, and bidding them farewell, is really about examining your inner self, a rite of passage to a new life.”
Finally, what I love best about Marie’s approach is that she encourages me to thank all of the items that I throw away. So I do! I thank them for their service before sending them on their way. This helps to punctuate the transition to a life more in line with what I really want.
I use the same approach in my business with all of the “mistakes” I have made along the way. Instead of hanging on and over-processing a failure, I thank the experience for its tenure in my life, and free myself to focus on what is going right.
Business Tip: Appreciate where you are now and all of the events (good and bad) that have led you to this point. Gratitude for your more challenging experiences makes you a better leader without all of that bulky psychological baggage holding you back.
For me, the way back to my inner wisdom is to turn off the noise, get rid of the clutter and give myself the gift of less.
Does the KonMari Method work for you? How do you bring these principles to your life? Please let us know in the comments section.
Grief. It can catch us off guard, stop us in our tracks, and swallow us whole if we allow it. A deep sense of sorrow so vast that sometimes we feel it will never end.
I’m in the midst of working through some big grief.
Over these past few months I experienced a domino effect of losses: I made the hard decision to let go of my business (and my paycheck), a significant 10 year relationship with my teacher/business partner/friend, the beautiful house I was living in, a handful of relationships that were no longer serving me, my practice community, and my vision on where I thought my life was headed.
All of this gone, in the blink of an eye, at the same time.
I was devastated. Brought down to my knees in suffering and pain. There were many restless nights of sleep, followed by groundless days of searching for any anchor to tether me from blowing away in the unknown. I cried a river of tears on a daily basis. Nothing was the same. Everything had changed.
Thankfully, I learned a big lesson about grief during a weekend retreat not too long ago.
The room was being set for our holotropic breathwork session. There were 11 of us in this experience – all women. We started laying down our Thermarest air mats and covering them with blankets. I was ready in my corner of the room, and my intention for this journey was clear.
How can I feel completely secure in my own being, without relying on my job, bank account, intimate relationship, and friendships? What is it that I need to do to be absolutely secure in myself, 100%, even in the midst of great grief?
The music started and we all began to rock and breathe. Deep, tribal, drum and bass accompanied us as we dropped down into ourselves. Then came the vibrational magic of the didjeridoo and blastoff, I was on my way!
It wasn’t too long into my session that I experienced a cascade of losses going back in time.
A lifetime of loss revealed itself like cards in a deck, fanned out, one after another: the end of my business, the loss of friendships, the loss of my practice community, losing my house, running out of money, dear friends moving out of the country, the passing of my father, break-ups and broken hearts, ending a career, pets dying, more break-ups, etc… Moment after painful moment of letting go, saying goodbye and change: this is what my journey showed me.
You’d think I’d have been devastated, right? But I wasn’t. And that’s the moment that I became extremely curious about my experience. Where is my grief in the midst of all this loss?
I began the feverish hunt, searching up and down, front to back for my never-ending sorrow. “It has to be here somewhere,” I thought to myself.
“How can I experience all these losses and not feel the deep despair of my grief?”
After a noble exploration of my inner landscape, I couldn’t find my grief. It was as if it had simply disappeared. I was astounded.
As I continued my breathwork session, I asked myself a very simple question.
What I learned from this experience was that I was adding even more suffering and pain on top of the real losses I already experienced.
A part of me was attached to my grief, wanting to hold on to it to prove my battle scars. I couldn’t find my grief during my breathwork session because I had quite naturally let go.
When I let go of my attachment to how I think things should be, when I give up my need to control, when I don’t live a life filled with expectations, and when I step into a deeper sense of trust, that’s when I find true freedom.
It’s in this freedom that I find security in myself.
Interested in finding the same as you move and shake yourself and this world into a better state of being? Try this technique that works for me:
Letting Go Practice
On the harder days, I like to anchor myself through the practice of Letting Go. It’s especially helpful when I feel stuck and attached and have a hard time loosening my grip on the way I think things should be. Here’s how I do it:
Identify what it is that you want to let go. Perhaps it’s a relationship that is no longer serving you, a negative thought pattern, or an attachment to the past or the future.
Feel your feelings. Feel the sadness, pain, loss, anger, guilt, whatever it is, feel all the feelings that arise when you step into letting go. Sometimes it’s helpful to write down your feelings in a journal. The important thing is that you feel through your feelings fully, don’t hold back.
Offer thanks and gratitude for all the ways this attachment has served you.
Let go. Let go of the control, let go of the fear, let go of expectations and step into a bigger sense of trust. You’ll know you’re on your way to letting go when you feel the flow of joy and possibility enter your life again. After all, life is a mystery. Enjoy it!
Share your experiences of Letting Go in the comment section below. Together we can create a space where we connect, share and crowd-source our favorite tips and tricks for letting go of grief.
Do you love a good spiritual adventure as much as I do?
A few years ago I read a book that rocked my world. In Serpent of Light, Beyond 2012, Drunvalo Melchizedek describes a planetary shift in consciousness and power back into the loving arms of the feminine.
Serpent of Light follows the shift of the Earth’s own kundalini energy to the Peruvian Andes, which Drunvalo claims is the new spiritual epicenter of the planet in this emerging feminine age.
Whether Drunvalo’s story is true or not, for the past few years we have all felt the momentum of this shift, as women learn to claim their power and emerge to lead in so many beautiful and unique ways. I am inspired by the truly extraordinary women I experience here at Emerging Women and in my own circles. We are rising!
However, as feminine leaders in a still highly masculine world, we are pioneering this new age and it can feel like a lot to untangle and re-weave. The question is:
How do we continue to bring our feminine nature more fully into our professional lives and all that we do?
The answer, I think, is to create more space and time to feed our souls on a regular basis—to create conscious opportunities to pass the microphone from the left brain to the right brain and give the feminine our undivided attention.
Spiritual adventure is one of the best ways that I know to do that.
This type of adventure is more than a vacation. It is an opportunity to shed multidimensional layers of responsibility and enter a realm of mystical possibility.
When you step out of your normal routine and into a safe and sacred container to experience the unknown, the field of all potentialities opens to you. That’s why I co-founded Hanuman Adventures – to bring some of these practices and experiences to emerging women everywhere.
Here are 8 Benefits of Going on a Spiritual Adventure:
1. Remove the distractions.
We do our best to feed our souls and resource ourselves in the feminine… but let’s face it; our lives are full of distractions.
Work, kids, technology, social engagements, and all that we juggle makes it challenging to drop in deep enough to listen to the whispers of the soul.
Sometimes we need an entire week away from it all.
2. Create space for balance.
Make sure you have delicious and healthy food, plenty of time for rest, and an abundance of adventuring activity. Empower yourself to tune in to what serves your balance and to take good care of yourself throughout the week so that you return home rejuvenated and refreshed.
3. Healing and transformation.
Whenever you step out of your normal routine, or your “comfort zone,” you create the opportunity for break through. What parts of you are ready to be seen, felt, and heard? What are you ready to transform? A well-planned spiritual adventure can provide a safe container to hold you in as you release the old and step into the new.
4. Yoga as soul medicine.
On Hanuman Adventures, we practice yoga daily in nature to move energy and experience the health and vitality of a strong body-heart-mind-earth-spirit connection.
5. Grow in conscious community.
We need each other. It’s that simple.
6. Giving back.
Each spiritual adventure includes an opportunity to work with the locals to practice seva (selfless service). When we give in this way, we often realize that we receive exponentially more than we give.
7. Your men are invited.
All of this work of feminine empowerment is really to restore the balance between the masculine and the feminine. We love our men. Let’s bring them along!
8. Inspiration and celebration.
Joy is one of the most healing forces on the planet. Laugh, dance, sing, play and shed a few happy tears.
We are here to celebrate life!
Going on a spiritual adventure can be a game-changer. Just in making the commitment to the adventure you start to experience the transformational magic.
What you are seeking is seeking you… Are you in?
Dayna Seraye is devoted to cultivating the path of the heart through the sacred body temple. She leads transformational yoga classes, workshops, retreats and trainings nationally and internationally to support individuals and communities to connect and awaken.
Dayna is the co-founder of Hanuman Adventures, offering extraordinary yoga retreats with a unique focus on seva and sacred sites. She takes people like you to extraordinary sacred sites to melt the pressures of daily reality and experience the magic of immersion into nature, the heart, and community.
October 24–31, 2015, Hanuman Adventures is going to Peru for a spiritual adventure in the heart of the Sacred Valley. March 20–27, 2016 they journey to Bali, the land of devotion.
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.