Monthly Archives: July 2015

Coyotes, Queens, and Lemonade

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A pair of coyotes trot through tall grass.My German Shepherd Kolby and I saw two coyotes on our walk this morning, followed by two hot air balloons. While these events may seem unrelated, I’ve learned that everything happens for a reason, and thus nothing is truly unrelated.

So when I got home and sat down for my morning meditation, I asked myself, “Why coyote? Why 2s?”

In Native American mythology, especially Cherokee, Coyotes are the tricksters. They love to play and have fun – albeit sometimes at others’ expense. The message coyote brought me was that I need to play more, learn to laugh at myself, take myself and life in general less seriously, and just have fun. Coming off the heels of hosting my first video interview series and getting ready to launch a new website and a new podcast, this makes perfect sense to me. Less work; more play, have more fun. Check.

What about the pairs – of coyotes and of balloons? In numerology, the number 2 is associated with all things feminine: gentle, tactful, diplomatic, forgiving and understanding. And this gets us back to what we’ve been talking about in the past few blog posts – be-ing a Queen.

In my 20s and 30s, I tended to act from a masculine rather than feminine perspective. I think this is fairly common among women in male-dominated careers or ‘corporate America’ types of jobs, of which I consider Academia. When you must be goal-oriented in your career and the pressure is on to do more with less, I think having these masculine traits can be of service. But, if you take those same traits into your everyday life – as I did for two decades – that doesn’t always work out so well…

What do I mean by masculine traits? In my experience, that has meant that individuals in their masculine tend to be very competitive, operating from a sense of lack or ‘not enoughness’ rather than a sense of collaboration or abundance.  Individuals who are more in their masculine seem almost distant from their feelings, as though their feelings can’t be shared or shown for fear of being seen as weak. So they appear to distance themselves from you just when you start reaching for the emotional connection required for most women to feel truly attached to someone.

That may not seem so bad, but it usually doesn’t stop there. Because I always felt like I had to prove my worth – in academia and in life – I tended to approach relationships from a place of fear rather than a place of love. I was vigilant, wanting to make sure I didn’t ‘screw up’ or make someone mad. Or even worse, I worried that they might find out about my ‘not enoughness’ and leave me. And because I was trapped in my own fear of being not enough, I didn’t trust myself, which meant I really couldn’t trust anyone else. I was always waiting for the other shoe to drop – not a good place to find yourself in any relationship, but especially not in a romantic one. And after years and years of this be-ing (or do-ing, really) in my masculine, I got bitter and resentful. I wondered why I could never seem to be enough.

Until one day when I realized that I was.

I wasn’t broken, I didn’t need fixing. I was enough, perfect just as I am right here, right now.

And that is the secret every Queen knows: a Queen is gentle, tactful, diplomatic, forgiving and understanding because she believes in herself. She’s seen struggle, she’s known loss, and she made it through. She walked on the lemons life threw her way and not only set up a lemonade stand, but also became more confident in her ability to sell said lemonade and make a profit. She looks in the mirror and knows that her wrinkles tell her story, her lines and scars speak of her journey that is this life, and her tears are shed not only for grief but for joy and happiness, for lessons learned. She loves and accepts every part of herself – her shadow and her light. And she is proud – of her life, of her journey, of herself. She’s sees her own beauty and the beauty in others. She walks beside you, never stepping on you for her own gain. She remembers how to play and makes sure to take exquisite care of herself. She sees coyote and knows her message: Be true to yourself, child, you are not in this life alone. Play, have fun, ask for help when you need it, and most importantly, always be as gentle, forgiving, and understanding with yourself as you are with everyone else.

From one woman who would be Queen of Her Own Life to Another: Namaste.

Now go share your light with the world, and don’t forget to have a little fun!

 

Perfect Imperfection

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beauty girl cry

Last night I cried.

I was reading Chapter 2 of Alison Armstrong’s book Queen’s Code and I experienced some powerful aha moments. Things about myself that I knew, but hadn’t wanted to accept. Things about myself that I know I need to work on so I don’t continue to make the same mistakes in my relationships with colleagues, students, clients, family, and friends. And it all has to do with the illusive Perfect Person.

“Women are instinctively motivated by perfection, and the need to be perceived as perfect enough to be pleasing… But not too perfect so as to cause jealousy in other women. This is the source of our drive to improve ourselves, and our fear of standing out at the same time.” ~ Alison Armstrong

Armstrong’s words ring so true for me. I have been motivated by perfection my whole life, and it has only been in the past couple of years that I’ve realized two things: 1) there is no such thing as “perfect” and 2) everything is perfect just as it is, or it wouldn’t be that way.

But we, as women, don’t accept our inherent perfection; we only see flaws. We criticize, we judge, we blame – others, and most of all, ourselves – when we can’t meet this illusive standard of being the “Perfect Person.” But I think it’s even worse than that. We hold impossibly high standards for ourselves, and then criticize, blame, and judge ourselves when we can’t meet these standards. Then we internalize that blame and shame and feel that we can never be good enough because we are too much or too little of something we thing we should be ‘just the right amount’ of. So we keep striving, we keep trying to become “perfect” and we fail every single time. And we become depressed or anxious or engage in self-harming behaviors (e.g., overeating, over-exercising, gambling, excessive shopping, other addictive behaviors) to punish ourselves for not being perfect.

Until the damn breaks. Until we can’t take the blame and shame and self-loathing anymore, and we turn it outward.

“When women cannot get what they need — no matter how they change themselves — it hurts, deeply. They react to hurt with anger. If the hurt is not healed, the anger ages into resentment. Accumulated resentment makes a woman bitter.” ~ Alison Armstrong

I’ve seen this happen so many times – in my mother, in my female friends, in myself. And it scares me because when a woman has been pushed so far that she has become bitter, you can bet that behind that bitterness lays a sense of self-worth in shambles. And behind that obliterated sense of self-worth lays an innocent child who really and truly has no idea what she’s done wrong, only that she wasn’t perfect enough to please [insert authority figure from your childhood]. And the sad thing is she’s still trying to please that person. She doesn’t know that they’ve moved on, that adult she has moved on. She still thinks she has to be more (or less) of something; she’s still locked in a prison of perfection – a cage of her own inadvertent making – resisting change, resisting acceptance, resisting her own perceived imperfections.

Ladies, this has got to change. We have to heal these wounded parts of ourselves; we have to stop the blame and shame and judging and criticism. We have to stop suppressing our light, our authenticity, our voice. We have to let go of resistance, replace the can’ts with cans; the shouldn’ts with shoulds.

 

I want you to do something for me – for yourself – today. Take your Life Satisfaction list from last week and for every area you rated less than a 7 ask yourself the following questions:

  • What am I resisting? What am I judging in myself as imperfect that is causing this number to be so low?
  • What can I replace this resistance with? How can I alter my mindset/belief system to approach this from a healthier place?

For example, I rated my finances as a 6 because I have some debt. Doing this process revealed the following:

  • What am I resisting? What am I judging in myself as imperfect that is causing this number to be so low?

I am resisting my debt because I have judged that having any debt means I’m irresponsible with my money.

  • What can I replace this resistance with? How can I alter my mindset/belief system to approach this from a healthier place?

I can change my belief to be that investing in myself and my company is a smart move when it feels in alignment and congruent with my mission.

Now doesn’t that feel so much better than blame and shame? While you’re at it turn your new beliefs into affirmations and recite them every morning as you look at yourself in the mirror and watch your life change for the better!

 

The Princess and the Frog Farmer

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Rana con corona e castello sullo sfondoI’m re-reading Alison Armstrong’s books, specifically the Queen’s Code and I had an ‘aha’ moment that I’d like to share with you in the hopes that it serves you.

In her book Keys to the Kingdom, Armstrong argues that men go through 4 stages of development: the Page (boys who want to be Knights), the Knight (adventurers), Prince (empire builders), and King (sovereign ruler of the empire he’s built). What I realized is this: I think women go through similar stages: Maiden/Princess, Mother, Queen, and Crone/Wise Woman, although I think there may be overlap in some of these stages.

When I was a little girl, I loved to dress up as a Fairy Princess. In an era where all Disney movies portrayed women as either Fairy Princesses or Evil Queens, who didn’t want to be the Princess? She got all the good stuff and didn’t really have to do anything to get there. That’s not to say that the Princesses didn’t struggle (ala Cinderella) before getting their due, but Disney really portrayed life as: Put Up with the Evil Queen until you Find Your Prince and then Live Happily Ever After.

Only real life never works that way. At least, it didn’t for me. Which gets me back to my ‘aha’ moment.

At 41, I am getting past my Mother stage in terms of reproductive years (although I still tend to play that role to a large extent in my academic job where my students come to me for guidance – more on that later). But what I realized is that at 41, when it comes to romantic relationships I’ve been stuck in the Princess stage my entire life. Although I know there is no such thing as Prince Charming, I’ve been waiting for him. Thus, I enter romantic relationships under the misguided assumption that my “Prince” will save me and provide for my every wish. But he can’t; for two reasons: 1) Men aren’t mind readers, so the notion that your Prince will know exactly what you want and provide for your every need is ridiculous. (And good luck trying to demand what you need from him.) 2) “Princes” – that is men in Armstrong’s Prince stage – aren’t at the point where they can provide you what you need anyway because they are still too busy trying to figure out what they need and building their empires.

In Fairy Tales when a Princess meets her Prince, her life becomes everything she always wanted and more. In reality when a ‘Princess’ meets her ‘Prince’, she more than likely turns him into a frog (what Alison Armstrong calls Frog Farming). Why? Because she has unrealistic expectations of him and he’s so caught up in building his empire that he can barely see the forest for the trees let alone anticipate and take care of his Princess’ needs.

So this weekend I made a decision: I no longer want to be a Princess waiting for her Prince to save her/fix her/make her happy. It’s time to become a Queen – in all areas of my life. It’s time to be sovereign of my own life, both at work (the Mother energy that I have been using to mentor students actually hinders them because it ends up being more of me do-ing it for them than teaching them how to do it themselves and challenging them to rise to the occasion) and in my relationships with friends (no more trying to ‘help’ my friends fix their lives; again that’s Mother energy and my friends are not children and don’t usually ask for my help or advice – they want to vent not help ‘fixing’ their lives) and romantic partners (I’m done Frog Farming, thank you very much!).

I’ve been exploring Queen energy for several months now, but only in the past month have I really begun to figure out what that means/looks like/etc. I’d love it if you’d take the journey with me. Are you ready to become Queen of Your Life? Ready to Design and Create your Ideal Life rather than waiting for it to be delivered to you all wrapped up with a shiny bow? Me too.

If you’re ready, I invite you to download and take the Life-Satisfaction-Worksheet. In my next post, we'll talk about what to do with the information you gathered on your worksheet.

I look forward to becoming Queens together!

Much love!

Goddess (and Queen of Her Own Life) Mary

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Moon in Cancer

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new moon

This continues a series of posts on working with Moon energy. Each New Moon and Full Moon, I will post suggestions for working with that archetype and harness the energy of the Moon's cycle.

New Moon Energy

The new moon is a time of new beginnings, a time when you plant the seeds you wish to harvest over the next month. Yet, do not neglect to let go of what no longer serves before you plant those seeds. It does no good to plant seeds in a barren desert.

  • What do you need to release before moving forward with this new moon cycle?
  • What patterns have you been holding on to that no longer serve?

You may wish to hold a releasing ceremony before setting your intentions for the New Moon. Once you have let go of the old, it’s time to set your intentions for this moon cycle.

  • What do I wish to create over the next month (from New Moon to New Moon)?
  • What do I need to allow my creations to come into light?

 

New Moon in Cancer

Contradiction meet Cancer…Cancer meet contradiction. Just when you think you have a Cancer figured out, they do something that surprises you. It's not that they're indecisive; it's just that they want the best of both worlds. On the plus side, Cancers are loyal, dependable, adaptive and highly intuitive; but they can also appear moody (aka, drama queens) and sensitive (because they are so intuitive).

So what does this mean for working with the New Moon energy? You can add the energy of Cancer to your New Moon reflections by asking yourself the following questions:

  • Where have I been ignoring my intuition? What is happening that I have not wanted to ‘see'?
  • Where have I been indecisive? What's really going on here?
  • What is my intuition telling me to create/focus on right now? How would this improve my life?
  • Where have I been too rigid/stuck? What might happen if I am more willing to go with the flow?

Enjoy working with the New Moon energy in Cancer! It should be a very intuitive time for all of us.

 

The Importance of Morning Routines

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The older I've gotten, the more I've understood the power of morning routines – things you can do to really start your day off on the right foot. My morning routines have varied over the years, but the point is that I have one. I no longer roll out of bed and get on my iPhone. I take my time starting my day, getting grounded and centered.

These days, my morning routine involves:

  • Opening up the house to let some fresh air in
  • Feeding the squirrels
  • Taking Kolby for a stroll in the foothills (emphasis on the word stroll there… you cant move very quickly when you have to stop to wait for your dog to pee every 5 seconds!)
  • Feed Kolby
  • Make and drink my morning lemon water (juice of half to a whole lemon – or 3-5 drops of lemon essential oil, 1-2 tbs apple cider vinegar, fill the rest with water)
  • Morning meditation – 10-20 minutes of grounding, balancing my chakras, thanking the elements, praying, saying my affirmations, and sitting in silence for a few minutes)
  • Journaling
  • Checking in with myself and my body, asking what I and my body need today
  • Shower and start my day

My morning routine makes all the difference in my day. If I skip it, my whole day feels ‘off' and I am much more in gerbil-on-a-wheel mode – anxious, not able to focus. But when I take the time to breathe and feel into my morning, ah….

I know, I know. You're too busy for a morning routine. My full routine can take up to an hour, depending on the day. But I didn't start that way. I started with 5 minutes. That's it. 5 minutes before I even got out of bed. That 5 minutes made such a difference in my day that it became 10, then 15, then 30…

Take time for yourself every morning, even if it's just 5 minutes. You are so worth it.