We begin to find and become ourselves when we notice how we are already found, already truly, entirely, wildly, messily, marvelously who we were born to be.”
― Anne Lamott
When I imagine the woman I will be a year from now, I can't help but look back to the woman I was a mere three years ago. I remember opening a copy of the magazine Spirituality and Health in August of 2012 while I was on a getaway at Kripalu, where I saw an ad for a conference I had never heard of until that day. It was a brand new conference called Emerging Women: Finding the Truth of Who You Are, and it was geared toward women leaders, entrepreneurs, and change agents.
I was emerging that I knew for sure, but I had no idea how I could pull this off - considering the event was only 2 months away. I'm a mama of 3, and two trips back to back is unheard of in my world. Besides I was mostly a stay at home mom, and at this point, I didn't have a "business plan" - only a vision. It didn't matter - I just knew I had to go. My husband wasn't exactly happy (it was a big investment and my absence would be difficult with an 8, 10, and 14 year olds), but my mom was alive then and I knew, without a doubt, she'd show up for me.
She always did.
"Finding the truth of who you are." Hmmm. I said to myself over and over. But wanting to know that truth and liking what you find takes a whole lot of courage, curiosity, and openness. Because it isn't always the pretty picture we've imagined. Painful and chaotic are more like it. Originally, I wanted to write about food and healthy living (easy stuff). I've learned, however, that my truth, passion, and purpose are guiding women on the journey to deep healing (hard stuff).
“Teachers open the door, but you must enter by yourself”
Besides that first year, Brené Brown was speaking, and everyone knows I adore Brené. Not to mention, it was in Boulder Colorado (and I love Boulder). I came home that first year inspired, invigorated, lit up, and driven to get to work at the hard work of becoming the woman I wanted to be. I started to write here. I took some business courses. And a ton of others - in women's wellness, empowerment, and spirituality.
Everyone could see the changes, but I could I feel them.
I was on fire.
Before this time, when others would look in to my life - they probably didn’t see me. They probably saw the expertly crafted version I chose to present to the world. I wanted everyone to think that I had it all together - the zen like montessori mama with the amazing organic meals and well adjusted & happy kids. And the perfect body, the marriage, life... the whole thing. One day, it all came crashing down when I realized I was unrecognizable to myself. I cared far too much about what my life looked like on the outside than the inside. I cracked. My physical and emotional health began to crumble. I was in credit card debit. I didn't feel supported in my relationships. It was messy. And the feedback I received from others only fueled me to uphold the image.
But it was a facade. It was an draining facade.
I hid me. I totally forgot myself. I feel silly admitting this here: I forgot how amazing I am in my own right.
I'm a shell of that other woman today. I only want to be more of me - the whole me, while learning everything I can from the inspiring (and supportive) women I surround myself with. I've finally learned that when we support ourselves first we set the tone for others. And despite knowing how important my work in the world it is, I wasn't valuing it and trusting the process & timing.
I wasn't valuing me.
Nor trusting that everything I needed was inside.
Fast forward to this year's Emerging Women, I am more connected to myself - and less and less to what or who I think other's want from me. I'm learning to trust myself and my decisions and use my voice - to proclaim myself as a truth seeker and healer.
Because that's who I am.
It feels amazing.
The truth is that none of us have it all together. We just don’t. And the more time we spend chasing a paler version of ourselves the less time we can spend doing things that matter.
So what matters? Only you get to decide that. But I've gathered a few of the gems from this year's conference. With so many incredible women, it was hard to choose.
- Jane Goodall: "A different kind of mother might have crushed that curiosity. And I wouldn't be standing here today." A powerful reminder for all mamas, aunts, and teachers.
- Brené Brown: Ask yourself: "The story I'm telling myself right now is?" In so many of our interactions with each other, we make up a story (usually not an accurate one). Get curious about the storyline - it has the potential to heal lots of relationship misunderstandings. Read Rising Strong (or anything by Brené).
- Elizabeth Gilbert: It's imperative to remember if we "don't have some sort of healthy entitlement, you will NEVER make anything. And unused creativity is not benign." Ouch. #BigMagic
- Esther Perel: "Surrendering to your own pleasure is the greatest act of your own will." If you want to learn more about relationships, desire, and yourself, listen to her two TED talks and read her book Mating In Captivity
- Dr. Neha Sagwah: "When you listen to the voices of your own heart, louder than the voices of others - what would it say?"
- Guru Jagat: "We are at a tipping point in consciousness. We are the creators of the future. We have the power to transform the planet."
- Sahaz Paz: "Before I could say my first word I was shushed because of the Islamic Revolution." Her book, Find Your Voice is what I'm reading now.
- Dr. Tererai Trent: So much wisdom in this woman- "The greatest hunger is for our personal meaning." "Feminine leadership is about action, not position." & "You're dreams will have deeper meaning if they are tied to your community."
It's in our truth that we come home to ourselves. And there can never be "too many glorious women."
So who will I be next year? I have no freaking idea. But I will always be an Emerging Woman - wild and messy. And glorious, divine, and whole.
Just like you - a change maker in your own life.
I leave you with these two powerful thoughts:
"Women are the creators of the future." - Yogi Bhajan &
"The world will be saved by the Western Woman." - Dalai Lama
I feel this in my bones and know it in my heart.
Let's begin. We've got work to do.
And it's big. It's really big.
The world needs us.
We need us.
“I take pleasure in my transformations. I look quiet and consistent, but few know how many women there are in me.”
― Anaïs Nin