This Monday morning I woke up just after 1am, feeling some fear in my body. It felt like a deeper ‘residue’ of something old that had surfaced. I knew I could shift my state if I wanted to, but I also knew better… that I needed to really be with it, go within and explore what was under the surface.
I got up to sit in our big windowed sunroom in meditation, just being present to what had surfaced. It was a bright full moon and so I positioned myself in the moonlight, at the time with no idea that I was actually sitting under the Blood Moon eclipse and that she was working her magic in me! (caused a ‘duh’ moment later that day!)
As I sat witnessing this feeling, I knew it was important to allow myself to fully feel it. I could sense a deep fear of being wrong, shamed and fundamentally unworthy.
I knew, cognitively, this wasn’t true but I could feel it somatically, flooding my body. Old ‘stuff’ in my life for sure, but also it felt like collective ‘stuff’, as if I was tapping into a field of unworthiness that is being carried by so many women, consciously and unconsciously.
Most of my clients have come to me unconsciously carrying this issue in some form. It’s an old ‘identity’ that holds the belief at its core that: ‘I’m am wrong’, ’I’m unworthy’, ‘I’m nothing’ and other flavours of ‘not enough-ness’.
If we don’t pay attention, it will stop us from sharing our gifts, because if we’re centred in the feeling, then exposure as a leader does not feel safe. We don’t want to be seen. Our hearts shut down and we are viscerally disempowered. The result is either overcompensating action or more likely, no action at all.
I believe that healing this issue, is at the heart of our spiritual awakening and the key to our true capacity to lead the purposeful contributions we’re really here to make.
As I sat witnessing this feeling in my ‘meditation moon bath’ I could feel my own sense of withholding from taking action. I could feel the stuck-ness in my body and just stayed with it. I wasn’t distracted by anything it seemed, just present to a painful ‘block’ in my heart and solar plexus.
I realised this had been getting in the way of me taking action towards my longer term vision. On the one hand I’d had so much creativity coming through and crafting of the next step of my own vision. On the other hand I wasn’t sharing it. It seemed this energy had surfaced for good reason and was clearly demanding my close attention on this very auspicious night!
I normally use powerful practices for transcending fear in the body, but this time something else happened.
As I reflected on all this inner inertia, a question arrived out of nowhere:
“What is the most loving action I can take?”
This question was SO powerful!
As it landed in me, my heart opened instantly and I could feel a huge relaxation in my body as a wave of deep self love and self acceptance came over me.
I realised that it was not about whether I should take action or not. It was about what action would be an act of love given where I was. I knew in that moment that the answer was to openly share this very experience as part of my own expression of leadership…. to be authentic without fear of judgement.
My energy freed and I started writing this blog.
It would have been easy for me to think, “but I teach this stuff, I should be though all this by now”, and lay judgement on myself for feeling how I was feeling.
Then, of course, I remembered that life’s agenda for us is to deepen our own learning of exactly what we teach…
So here’s the insight that I want to emphasise:
“Leadership is not about acting from a state of inner perfection. It’s a willingness to lead authentically through the grittiness of our own personal experience and stay open, with love, to the healing and clarity it brings.”
Unless we’ve reached a state of true enlightenment, we’re always going to be faced with painful ‘shadows’ that need healing, especially when we reach out to express more of our potential.
We don’t need to apologise for that – it’s a natural bi-product of the evolutionary path we’re on. Our responsibility as leaders is to do the inner work that supports that healing and strengthens our authentic self-expression.
The dual path of leadership that takes us home
In my experience the most effective way to heal the shadows that surface along the way is, simply speaking, to love and accept what is present and to love and accept ourselves no matter what we are feeling. This is the essence of the journey home.
So, I see Feminine Leadership as a path that brings us home to ourselves. No matter where we begin or how deeply we understand the journey, it’s purpose is always to bring us home to our hearts where Self Love is discovered and from where we are able to share that love with others.
It’s rarely an easy journey. In my own experience of this awakening over the past years, I have learned that the journey has two simultaneous and inter-weaving paths: the inner path of ‘Soul Leadership’ and the outer path of ‘Project Leadership’.
The outer is where we mostly tend to focus when we think about our leadership. It’s the purposeful contribution we bring: the project we are leading, the heart-centred business we’re growing, the relationships we’re fostering, the family we’re nurturing.
It’s the path that we and others can see.
The inner path, on the other hand, is the spiritual journey of Soul Leadership in which we become aware of and support the healing that is taking place at a deeper level of identity within us. We welcome the opportunity to find our wholeness and peel back the layers of who we are not, to discover the truth about who we are, at the level of Soul.
This is the the unseen path of leadership. It takes courage, but without it we cannot grow our capacity for true resilience and what we create in life will be limited.
When we pay attention to the weaving of these inner and outer threads of our journey, we get to grow in untold ways. We allow ourselves to experience who, in essence, we know ourselves to be inside and what we are truly capable of leading outside in the world.
These two paths grow together and cannot be separated. Our purpose is not just to heal and transform our planet. It’s also to heal and transform ourselves in the process.
Feminine Leadership is not just about being connected to our inner ‘being’ world, our spiritual process and healing journey. It’s about bringing the masculine and feminine together to co-create with love.
We could say that the inner path represents the Feminine ‘being’ aspect of our experience and that that outer path of action in the world, represents the Masculine ‘doing’ aspect of our experience. Without both in healthy relationship, there is no creativity.
So Feminine Leadership is about taking action in the world in a way that is connected to our Soul’s deeper purpose, our wisdom and our authentic nature. It’s about allowing the healthy Masculine within us, to honour and serve the healthy Feminine.
We all have access to both aspects within us but there is an interesting challenge that we face when we step into our leadership.
When we decide it’s time to take our heart-full contribution out into life and return our gifts, there is often a dilemma about how the feminine and masculine dance together.
Over the last 12 years I’ve been helping women leaders to connect with their inner wisdom, purpose and deep confidence, so they can rise to their full potential.
Initially I worked with senior women leaders in the corporate world. More recently, I’ve been supporting heart-inspired women entrepreneurs who want to make a bigger positive impact through their businesses and fulfil a deep personal calling.
What I’ve learned from all these women as well as from my own gritty experience, is that this dance is challenging because it represents two core ‘identities’ that most women find hard to bring together:
1) Being a visible leader, out there creating an impact in the world.
2) Being a woman, connected to her deep wisdom and innate feminine strengths.
Many women who are out there in the world leading, rely on their masculine capacities to take action and create results, often overriding their feminine wisdom and compromising their well-being. That was my experience too and it’s a hellish place of stress, burnout and disconnection.
Others who have retreated from ‘over-doing’ and begun to re-connect to their deeper feminine strengths and spiritual purpose are struggling to step out and take action in a way that feels congruent with their newly clarifying sense of identity. I know this one too. It can be a painful place of feeling un-given and un-expressed.
I’ve found myself working with countless women in crisis with one or other face of this dichotomy.
The truth is that combining these two ‘identities’, is a new paradigm of leadership practice that most of us haven’t had the role models or structures for.
That’s why I called the community I serve Awakening Feminine Leaders, so we could sit the words Feminine and Leader deliberately side by side and discover how to be the role models ourselves.
I believe that our role as Feminine Leaders is to bring the feminine and masculine back into balance, within ourselves and in the world.
That’s why understanding and weaving the inner and outer journeys is so important. It requires us to dig deep and ask ourselves:
How do we stay connected to our feminine wisdom as we bring our gifts and contributions powerfully forward through our leadership?
How do we take bold and courageous action and keep ourselves lovingly nourished and attuned to our feminine strengths and values?
This is the true quest of feminine leadership that really excites me…
~ Giving attention to the inner and outer paths of transformation as we bring our unique Soul gifts and contributions forward as change leaders who care about the future we create.
~ Choreographing the masculine and feminine in flow together as we birth our projects into the world and create new, healthier structures for our work, businesses and leadership.
So these are my next steps that I invite you to join me in…
I’m currently inviting a small Mentoring Circle of only 8 Feminine Leaders to join me in a co-creative journey of transformation over the next 6 months.
I’ve called it, the Leading With Feminine Wisdom – Mentoring Circle.
Because it’s intimate, it will give you high levels of personal support to help you tap into your inner wisdom and take your leadership authentically out into the world, with no apology.
We’ll be working with both the inner and outer paths of leadership, co-creating a safe and inspiring space to share challenges, wisdom, insights and care in a collective experience that will help each woman to move beyond any sense of ‘not-enoughness’ and take their inspired contribution to the next level.
If you’re ready to take the leap into the next phase of your transformative work and want to explore being one of these 8 Feminine Leaders, then please email me asap and let me know what you would most love to receive from an experience like this. I’ll send you more information and we’ll set up a time to talk!
Regardless of your interest in this Circe, I wholeheartedly welcome your feedback and would love to hear how any of this has touched or inspired you.
Thank you for reading with an open heart.
With much love and bright blessings on your journey home,