Saturday, August 20, 2011

Awakening Authentic Power-From-Within

Right now I’m doing one of the most powerful, innovative things it feels like I’ve done in a long time, and I can sense a power and magic here that is radical, fresh, and invigorating. 

I know on the outside it doesn’t look like I’m doing much.  I’m sitting in a café in Southwest Berkeley on San Pablo Ave., an area patchworked with tire repair shops, dive bars, up-and-coming restaurants, and not a few empty, unmarked buildings.  I’m wearing jeans, skater shoes that hide socks with holes in the toes, a black shirt, and I have earbuds in my ears as I type this.  But what you can’t see from this surface glance is the revolution that is pouring through me, on digitized sound waves that come from far away, and that connect me to the collective wisdom, intelligence, hope, and passion of 1500 women from 53 different countries that share a desire to manifest a different way of being on this earth. 

Even if nothing else came of it, the money that I paid to be a part of Feminine Power: the Essential Course for the Awakening Woman would have been well spent to be part of this bright, wide-cast web of wise women who want more from the world than what we’ve been offered by corporations and institutionalized religions, and who understand that we must come together to break through our inner glass ceilings to contribute to Life in the ways that that we’ve felt Called to do for so long. 

It brings tears to my eyes to hear the voices of the women from Los Angeles, Ontario Canada, Australia, Japan, Haiti, Costa Rica, Bosnia, and Vietnam speak about a shared longing for bringing their dreams into full manifestation, to co-create the world that they know is possible in their hearts, to contribute to their cultures in ways that will create a long-lasting heritage of compassion and peace for their children to inherit, and to be part of the deep healing of the little garden planet we call home. 

I have long been an ardent skeptic – even a downright naysayer – of online education (it makes my cheesedar ding).  I most certainly had my doubts when I first went to the website for Feminine Power and noticed that the color scheme employed could have been taken straight from a Victoria’s Secret catalog.  And the constant email traffic before the course that told me creators Katherine Woodward Thomas and Claire Zammit would help me “activate my magnetic field” and give me the “key to personal and planetary change” really turned me off.


Most of the time, even.  With every new email, I’d gleefully hit the tiny gray trashcan button on the corner of my screen without bothering to read most of them, resting back into the satisfaction of the completion (and, often times, simultaneous dismissal) of many other previous forays into spiritual practices and women’s empowerment courses that promised similar things without delivering the transformative experiences they advertised.  

But other times, the times that I was feeling more quiet and gentle inside, I found myself listening to a little voice that kept saying things like, “But – what if they can help me activate my magnetic field?  What if they can teach me how to access the power to transform my life and fulfill my destiny?  What if there is something different here – about this work, and about where I am in my life right now – that makes it possible to open the gate into a whole new way of being?  Isn’t that what I want?  Isn’t it worth trying for?”

That little voice’s hopeful, idealistic whispers would have fallen on deaf ears if it were not for my friend Ursula, who is the person who first mentioned the course to me.  We may not be the closest of intimate friends, but there is something about her kind, frank, authentic approach to life and the things we have in common – being massage therapists, birth workers, and priestesses of women’s mysteries – that always inspires and intrigues me.  Ursula is not hippie-dippy, nor new-age-y, nor does she appear to be someone who purchases countless things from fuchsia and silver websites promising to change your life and find you the perfect mate.  She told me that she had been doing the Feminine Power work for ten months with a study group, was still actively involved, and had gotten a lot out of it. 

“Beyond all else, what I appreciate about it is its intelligence,” she said to me.

That stuck with me, despite my inner naysayer.  In fact, it even helped the Inner Naysayer calm down a bit, because the Inner Naysayer values intelligence above all other things (it prides itself on being my most intelligent self, buying into the myth that being analytic and being intelligent are the same). 

The intelligence that Ursula was talking about was something that I could feel coming through the emails and in the free telecourse that I listened to late one night.  The thing is, the founders of the course don’t come at it “from the beginning” like so many others do, but from a place honors past experience and the work that we’ve already done to self-actualize and awaken into “our real lives” --  those lives that we feel just on the edges of our experience, hovering on the periphery of our vision but not yet fully manifested. 

“We know you’ve done spiritual work and had transformative experiences.  We know you’re the kind of people that are already creating change in the world.  But you’re still not where you want to be – yet,” Katherine and Claire were saying to me in those emails, again and again. “There are hurdles in the way that seem invisible, invincible, artifacts of a reality you didn’t consent to.  We have been there, and we have some tools that we can share to really break it open.  We have developed tools that can help us co-create the life and the world that we all want.” 

My Little Voice likes that kind of talk.  She gets all excited by it.

Eventually, I had to let Inner-Naysayer and Little Voice duke it out.  As usual, on the surface it seemed that they were arguing about the money and time commitment involved.

“What if it doesn’t do anything?” Inner Naysayer asked.  “What if its just like all of the other things, and ends up being a big waste of money and time?”

She was saying this in an effort to sway the Decision Maker onto her side, because she knows that Decision Maker is very touchy about the subject.  Both are resources that are scarce in my world, and Decision Maker rations them out with great care. 

“What if they’re just glossy faces making all kinds of promises without anything to back it up?” Inner Naysayer went on.  “We will feel so dumb.  We will feel ashamed about the money we wasted.  That will suck.  Stop being so naïve, Little Voice.”
Decision Maker nodded.  Those were pretty good points.
But Little Voice was not to be so easily dissuaded.  In fact, Little Voice wasn’t feeling as little anymore.  She rose up to her full size, looked Inner Naysayer right in the face, and said, “Fuck off, Inner Naysayer!  So what?  What if those things are true?  Even if it doesn’t do any good – well what good do you ever do?  Where have you gotten us?  Not far, I can tell you that.  Nowhere, in fact!  All you do is naysay, and that’s not only boring and lame but it’s not anywhere near as productive as you seem to think.  So shut up already!”
You’d think Inner Naysayer would have quickly retorted about how she keeps us safe from the danges of the world and all of that, but, surprisingly, she did not.  She bristled as if slapped in the face, turned around, and silently went off into her corner to sulk. 

And that was that.  The next thing you knew, I’d paid my dues and was very eagerly awaiting my course materials.  It was as if Little Voice had been emboldened by her victory over Naysayer and had brazenly taken over the reigns of the whole operation, infusing all of me with the excitement, freshness, innocence, and bubbling passion that is her hallmark.   
Listening to women all over the world talk about things like activation, catalyzing transformation, global movements, hope, fulfillment, and destiny, I know now not only that I made the right choice listening to that little voice, but also that by doing so I have stepped into a positive feedback loop that strengthens and empowers that part of me. 
What I’m learning is that there are many beliefs inside of us that influence our decision making, some of which we’re aware of and some which we are not.  These beliefs are the lens through which we experience the world, and they self-perpetuate themselves by providing evidence of their own validity.  So, when I’m living within the worldview of naysaying, belittling, and demeaning those things that my heart and spirit crave, I will experience the world in ways that confirm that pouring my heart and soul into what I want is not safe, will not be appreciated or successful, and will bring me pain and disappointment.  Which is to say that when I put on the lens of that belief and that worldview, I am co-creating that reality by doing so – even if its not what I want deep inside of me.  I act in ways that make it difficult for others to support what I am doing.  I pull back from projects that are gaining momentum because I don’t believe they will be successful and I’m afraid of getting swept up into a tidal force that will leave me bedraggled and beaten against a rocky shore.  I disengage from things that I love to do and want to develop proficiency in because I don’t feel like I’ll ever be good enough at those things to make the time and effort that I put into them worth it, and that becomes the self-fulfilling prophesy, because without that time and effort I don’t develop the skill and competency that I desire. 
But there’s a bright light at the end of that tunnel, because by stepping into the belief-lens that my most hopeful, connected, inspired self espouses, I’m stepping into co-creating a different life for myself where those beliefs can be validated every day by success and ever-more connection, hope, and inspiration.  There is a lot of self-responsibility in doing this, and that self-responsibility is more empowering than it is frightening.  So often, when I’ve thought of self-responsibility in the past, I’ve felt it as something that deadens my enthusiasm and represses my spirit.  But this is a different understanding of it.  It’s the understanding that by taking responsibility for co-creating my experience, I am empowered to shift and shape it into that which I most desire.
Simply listening on the phone to the voices of women across the world talking about what they want for themselves and their communities, deep in their hearts and through the wisdom of their bodies and intuition, I feel it happening.  I am connected to a web of bright light that feeds on itself to become brighter, an upwelling of wisdom that is gaining momentum.  I am also writing easily and freely for the first time in months, because life feels like its happening through me and not to me, and that's what I need in order to have my creativity flow through me and onto the page (or screen, as the case may be).  
This feels like the beginning of a wonderful adventure.  I hope that you folks out the blogosphere are excited to experience it with me.  I know that I am very excited to begin.  


  1. I am so happy for you my dear! This is beautifully written and I thank you for sharing it <3 It's an inspiration.

  2. Thanks for reading, Larkin! I've had a lot of positive responses, which is so important to me... especially when I'm sharing something this personal about my inner experience and things that I'm working on personally. It's easier to hide, but when I do things this way, I feel like the work that I'm doing for myself is also a direct contribution to the work of the world. The personal is the political, and all that.

    Hope to see you soon... perhaps at the FCWC face to face?

    Lotsa love,

  3. Woo Woo Woot!!! Yeah! As you know I am deeply moved and involved in doing this work, and I love reading your own words about. Maybe we can distill FemPower's essence and put it into special chocolates, and get it to women everywhere!

  4. Rivka,

    I just read this post for the second time, and it's some of your best writing yet--and that's saying a lot too! I wonder where you got your amazing writing ability? It must be hereditary. VBG

    The part that really resonated with me was the dialogue between Little Voice and Inner Naysayer, sometimes known in other contexts as The Critic. That's an old story to a lot of people, and we know which side usually wins out. Inner Naysayer always has "common sense" and "practicality" on her side, after all. But what good actually comes from listening to her cautions and warnings, especially in the long term? In retrospect it usually adds up to a whole lot of missed opportunities and unlived life, and that's actually the best outcome. At worst it could be disastrous.

    It suddenly struck me as I was writing this that the tendency to let Inner Naysayer get the upper hand has very concrete and specific applications to the political sphere, and more so now than ever. We in the progressive community are now having to come to terms with the fact that Obama has revealed himself as a RINO, a Trojan horse candidate. He never had any intention of implementing anything close to a progressive agenda. That was clear from his first cabinet appointments. The same goes for the entire DLC or "Third Way" as they now call themselves. It should be obvious to everyone by now that they are the neocon wing of the Democratic Party, and therefore inherently subversive of our core values.

    Right now there is enormous pressure from the self-proclaimed "realists" within the party to once again play it safe and vote for the lesser of two evils. That is to say, to support Obama's re-election. This is voice of Inner Naysayer. I admit that the naysaying faction has a valid point considering the terrifying theocratic clown show the Republicans have presented so far. So much evil and so much stupid in one place have never been seen yet in American politics.

    But this time Little Voice refuses to let Inner Naysayer get the last word. She reminds us that we've been voting for the lesser of two evils for 30 years, and ALL it has accomplished is moving the Democratic Party progressively further and further to the right. We have reached the point now where we are confronted with an allegedly "Democratic" president who could very well succeed in dismantling the New Deal--something no Republican could ever accomplish. Unravelling or at least weakening the social safety net seems to have been high on Obama's agenda ever since he took office.

    So now we're confronted with the stark reality that "playing it safe" may NOT be the safe thing to do at all. If we vote for the lesser of two evils--again!--we could very well be signing America's death warrant, and in some cases our own. Yet given the realities of our two-party political system no third party has a snowball's chance in hell of getting much support nationally, and so far no primary challenger to Obama has appeared on the horizon.

    And so allowing Little Voice to have the last word requires a huge leap of faith--faith in the most basic sense of the word, "the substance of things hoped for." And I do have that faith. I believe that the need of the times has become so acute, so urgent, that someone WILL step forth to answer that need. I can't tell you who that someone will be, but I have faith that a primary challenger to Obama will come forward sometime in the next few months.

    It requires an enormous leap of faith as I said. I'm not pretending otherwise.

    Love, Mom