At age 3, I begged for a blue toy Corvette.
I grew up with a feminist mom, who taught me that girls can do anything boys can, and that traditional gender roles were a choice. She challenged my ideas about “girls toys”, and my negative narratives about boys.
I learned that being a feminist simply meant that we were equal. Period.
Growing up, I heard plenty of stories of wage inequality and women being sexually harassed, and was well aware of the powerful grip of beauty ideals. I knew that we weren’t there yet, and as far as I was concerned – and I still believe it – healing the subjugation of women was one of the most important things we could do. I was angry at the world for getting us here.
Throughout my early 20’s, as I embarked on a spiritual deep-dive, I started noticing the words “feminine” and “goddess” pop up, and I bristled each time I saw them. I couldn’t reconcile the fact that I kept hearing them from spiritual teachers who I trusted, with the fact that to me, these words represented the exact subjugation I was against: The expectation of women being pure and perfect and pretty. Why were people who seemed otherwise grounded and intelligent perpetuating these narrow “ideals”?
Over the years, I’ve come to understand that the very fact that I hated those words was representative of how deeply fractured our relationship with The Feminine had become.
To me, “feminine”, “goddess” or “priestess” meant pretty, perfect, pink, frilly, girly, fluffy, well-behaved and nice. I wanted nothing to do with supporting that narrow ideal for women. But the answer to the question – why did I believe that? – perfectly demonstrates how broken our relationship with women had become.
I came to realize that these words have rich histories, connected with true stories of powerful women throughout history – women who were wise, sovereign, kind, fierce, empowered leaders – and that those stories had been skewed and often repressed. Through studying these women and listening more deeply to their stories, I learned that their gift was in teaching us to feel it all, have a full range of self-expression, and be open-hearted as we envision and create a future that we believe in. I learned that the words “feminine”, “goddess” and “priestess” could be synonymous with powerful, open-hearted leadership – the type of leadership that is cooperative, holistic, inclusive and compassionate.
I wanted to know more, but I wanted to be sure to learn from someone who had deep roots in her journey, so I began working with Elayne Kalila Doughty – a spiritual leader who has been walking this path of embodied leadership for over 20 years, supporting individual women in deepening their leadership, and trailblazing powerful activist efforts in the Congo with Eve Ensler of The Vagina Monologues. I knew that if I wanted to learn to be a more powerful and grounded leader, connected to a deeper and more vast sense of purpose, she was my teacher.
Over the years, she has taught me how to become a women who can maintain an open heart AND be a stand for women’s freedom – how to harness the anger of my early 20’s, without burning out or losing myself in the process. She has taught me how to embrace the fullness of who I am, including my fiery passion, and to be a more embodied leader in service of the future I see.
From where I stand now, I can see that if we want to truly step into our leadership, it is time for us to embrace the Divine Feminine, and reclaim our ancient knowing of who we really are.
I’ve been sharing a lot with you lately, but I would be remiss if I did not share Elayne Kalila’s powerful work with you. It has made such a massive impact in my own life, and if you choose to explore it, I am sure that it will impact you deeply as well. Moreover, it will impact the lives of the people in your world, and the world at large.
It’s time to embrace our power, sisters.
Elayne Kalila has created a beautiful program called Priestess Presence – Online Mysterium, a deep immersion into what it means to walk as a Priestess in the world today. This is a unique chance to immerse yourself in the teachings and devotional practices of an ancient mystery school, while being supported to live this path in our often challenging world.
If you want to dig a little deeper into my very personal story with this work, she interviewed me recently in a conversation titled “Surrendering to Emptiness: A Pathway to Intimacy and Ecstasy.” You can watch it here:
I have so much more to share about this in future blog posts, because exploring my spiritual side has helped me align with my mission and message more than anything else. For now, I’m curious to explore YOUR relationship with the feminine, and how you want to deepen your relationship with yourself. Leave a comment below, and let’s discuss.