Women Who Thrive, Change The World!

Archive for the ‘Empowerment’ Category

We Are The Sum Of The Choices We Make

Never give up, never give up, never give up sings Gypsy Soul singer Cilette Swann.  We are truly the sum of the choices we make in life.  The song you will listen to below invites us to wake up from our slumber and ask these questions:

Do I give enough?

Do I love enough?

Do I trust enough?

Do I risk enough?

Did I ever give up on anyone?

Questions to not only ask ourselves frequently, but vibrantly, passionately,  and mindfully live in order to be able to say YES! to all but the last question!!

Addendum: “Did I allow myself to receive enough” for all of you women out there that have given until you had nothing left to live your life with….

WEBSITE www.ResonanceWithLife.com




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We Have Come To Be Danced!

Last Friday night my body was a mass of whirling limbs, undulating pelvis, and open hearted movement.  Where was I?  At one of my favorite movement pastimes.  You see I, like you, have several favorite movement practices….among them swimming, yoga, making love, and ecstatic dance/contact improv.  The latter is what I was involved in a few days ago.

What is so outrageously refreshing about ecstatic dance is just what the poem below by Jewel Mathieson (thank you to Kimberly Beroset!) suggests quite powerfully.  There are no boundaries or constraints to adhere to.  The dance movement comes from deep within and in the moment.  By yourself in a room full of dancing, whirling, cavorting people….or in direct energetic contact with one or more others.  It is like finding out who you are within each breath of limb, organ, skin, and fluids.  It is taking the time to explore what is desiring and demanding to emerge next…while taking the risk of fully inhabiting that movement, sound, dance, emotion, relationship with self and/or other.

I have written here before that women too often apologize for everything, even their very existence.  My remedy for this has been to suggest that every time a woman wants to say ” I’m sorry” (though there are truly times when that is appropriate) she should instead say “I’m so sexy!” – or at least think it…and stop the apologies in their tracks, never to emerge unconsciously again!

The poem below embodies all of what I am speaking to here and as I slip a piece of luscious dark chocolate into my mouth I say to you……We HAVE come to be danced!  Let us not forget that for even one single moment!  See you on the dance floor of life!!



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Yoga Woman – Creating A Scared “Time In”

Did you know that in the early history of yoga, and up until recently,  it was meant as a practice only for men?  That is hard to believe as the majority of students and teachers globally these days are women.  What first attracted me to the practice so many years ago now was the freedom to explore my body, mind, emotions and breath in a “time out”  – or better “time in” –  without the pressures of everyday life intruding.  Something women historically have had precious little time for.

Just today a video movie trailer came across my inbox (thank you Lynn Walker!) called YogaWoman.  I post it here because it makes a statement about what women can create when they become passionate about something.  Women have changed the entire make up of this ancient practice creating an embodied and grounded pathway to moments of nourishment, strengthening, nurturing, flow, expanded awareness, increased fluidity and flexibility, a modality for health and well being for all ages, genders, and races –  and for simply being with the breath in each moment.

As a student and teacher for many years now I still feel a thrill every time I step on the yoga mat and know that this time, this practice, is just for me!  Deep gratitude goes to the many men that have helped bring yoga to the Western shores….and a standing ovation goes to the women that have consistently expanded and grounded the practice in a way only a woman can.

If we can support each other in stepping into our individual expressions, such as has been done with the practice of yoga,  instead of competing with each other (or ourselves!), then we have not only come closer to embodying the authentic and honest expression of who we are, but have joined other women in a collaboration of empowerment and joyous creation.



Website:  www.ResonanceWithLife.com

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I Am A Dangerous Woman

I am a dangerous woman…

Infinitely compassionate and wildly loving.
Softly strong and strongly soft in my ways.
Don’t get too close, you may see dreams come true and wishes appear from thin air.

I am a dangerous woman…….

Able to give unconditional love from an endless well within.
Blindingly bright ~ I will continue to shine until the stars fade from the heavens.
For God’s sake, don’t give me your heart, I might show you what it’s for and how to use it.

I am a dangerous woman……

Capable and real.
Genuine and wise.
Whatever you do, don’t tell me your secrets, I will keep them.

I am a dangerous woman…….

Gently staunch in my defense of family, friends and home.
Crazy in love with my life.
Don’t expose me to your children, I may teach them something of value.

I am a dangerous woman………

Reveling in my sensuality.
Enjoying all the pleasures of being female.
Stay away from me if a lover that is both your equal and your joy is what you seek.

I am all that I am meant to be.
If this means danger then……

I AM a dangerous woman.

Written By:

Mary Costanza – A Woman’s Heart And Soul

Thank you Mary for this inspiring gift as we enter into the New Year of 2012 with our authentic voice, senses, wisdom, creativity, love, compassion, integrity, courage, faith and empathy fully expressing! GA




Being Absolutely Truly Yourself – Is Freedom!

Today I watched a video of a talk given by the Dali Lama on women.  What he said in essence is that there is a “lack of human affection” in our world today….and that women are the ones to turn that around.   Our naturally compassionate and feeling nature often lead the way in daily interactions.

This is not to say that men don’t have this as well, but we as women are designed for it.  After a few funny stories the Dali Lama made a statement that would potentially upset 1,000’s of years of a lineage that is based on very defined practices and beliefs.  He said he was open to a female Dali Lama!  Needless to say this would be quite a paradigm shift for many, many people…but what if this did happen??

Following on the heels of this I was re-inspired once again by Caroline Casey who gave a TED talk on how extraordinarily far belief can take a person.  I won’t spoil the story for you, so you will have to devote 15 minutes to it in order to find out what happens.  You won’t be sorry that you did!

I am asking myself right now, “am I pretending to be something that I am not?” or “am I absolutely being truly myself”?   Good question to immerse in!  Enjoy the video and Caroline’s story…she is one of those innately compassionate (self and other) women and just by being fully herself inspires us all!

Caroline Casey on Moving Beyond Our Limits

Activist Caroline Casey tells the story of her extraordinary life, starting with a revelation (no spoilers).   In a talk that challenges perceptions, Casey asks us all to move beyond the limits we may think we have.

WEBSITE www.ResonanceWithLife.com  (New offerings!)


www.BreathingSpaces.net  (watch the video of me on the Daily Breath page & see Sneak Preview of book to be published in January!)


For a great Christmas present for those hard to buy for younger teenagers on your list take a look at this.  A great and adventurous read that even you will not be able to put down…with a female heroine!


Embrace Your Inner Girl

Always do the thing you fear the most.
Courage is an acquired taste
like caviar.

~Erica Jong

A week ago now I started questioning what it is that I am doing in my life….in the world.  This inquiry came about as I watched a snippet from a film on the Pink Saris in India and what they are doing to stand up for young girls and women in their country, villages, and homes.

I remember feeling bereft as I watched a very young beautiful girl being questioned by one of the Pink Sari women as to why she was so sad.  Her answer was – “I just want to die”.  Her wish to die was precipitated by being wedded at a very young age to an older man who was filmed asking “why does she keep running away?”.  The Pink Sari woman’s answer was “you keep raping her”.

So many women and girls are faced with atrocities every day all over the world.  They are not valued for the amazing beings that they are.  Deeper than that is the paradigm that has brought about this inequity, violence, and disregard for the wisdom, vulnerability, compassion, empathy, intuition, balance, emotion, and relational abilities of what Eve Ensler calls the “girl cell” in all of us -women and men.

A year ago now I sponsored a woman in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and was able by my small donation each month to put this woman through a year long program to empower her within herself, to give her skills to be financially independent, and to have a support system around her to help her continue on amidst a country that has been in violent war for 12 years.

Now I want to do more.

What can each of us as women/men and girls/boys do to shift this old patriarchal system that has caused our very Earth to be in severe jeopardy?  A system that male and female cannot thrive within.

I invite each of you to view the entire video below, a TED talk by Eve Ensler in 2009 given while she was in India.

I invite each of you to find a passionate way in your own life to shift the “training” that has caused us to lose ourselves.  As Eve said, “Being a girl is so powerful that we have had to train everyone not to be a girl.”

Eve Ensler – Embrace Your Inner Girl

“In this passionate talk, Eve Ensler declares that there is a girl cell in us all — a cell that we have all been taught to suppress. She tells heartfelt stories of girls around the world who have overcome shocking adversity and violence to reveal the astonishing strength of being a girl.



You Can’t Fail At An Experiment

The title of this post is something that Claire Dakin said in her talk at the Women On Fire Conference this year introducing Three Sisters – Women Seeding Change.  This concept – “you can’t fail at an experiment” is a way to look at each twist and turn of your life as an opportunity to take action, and to let go of the fear of failure.

I used to ask myself the question, if we as women took the time to step up on behalf of the planet and stopped competing with each other I wonder what would happen?  What I see occurring all over the globe right now is just that – women stepping up on behalf of the planet, our communities and families, and on behalf of each other .

As a committed global group we hold great power to create the change that we desire.

What the video below will give you are two things.  First is an opportunity to join other women towards quickening a successful outcome towards major global reforestation.

Secondly, is to inspire you to experience first hand what it feels like to open completely to the feminine inside of you, and to celebrate yourself in union with women and girls all over the world.

An experiment can never fail – for it is an experiment.  I wonder what great experiments you can create and take action on from the deepest part of your heart?  Be like Claire Dakin and invest in the courage to find out!

Women supporting women – and all of us supporting the Earth.



Embodying Your Power Within Nature

The impetus for this post came about from an e-mail I wrote to Susie Kincade, co-creator of  Women’s Empowerment Workshop slated for 9/15-9/18/2011 in Vail, Colorado.  Coming on the heals of the last post on being powerful and in your feminine presence, I somehow received the link for this upcoming workshop.

My excitement about this amazing workshop lead to a request by e-mail to be involved somehow (and hopefuly attending!) , which then lead to a conversation that Susie and I had today in which I realized that nature has been an incredible ally for me throughout my life.

How many workshops, self help books, courses, retreats etc has each of us gone to (or read) in which there is an incredible experience, but that very experience stayed just that?  It did not integrate within our being….or as I like to say, it was not embodied to be tapped into purposefully over time.

This took me back to a pivotal point in my life when I was really ready to shift from being somewhat of a victim in my life to co-creating a life that would tap into my powerful and unique creative expression.  I had no idea how to do that, but my intention was strong to somehow find the pieces that went into that.

When intention is strong the vehicle for change appears.  My vehicle came in the form of a professional photographer and wilderness survival expert that invited me to go with him to Kauai, Hawaii to backpack along the Na Pali coast – the very old original Hawaiian trial which leads to an isolated beach at the end of this particular trail.

I said yes and then proceeded to prepare by reading every single thing I could get my hands on to learn more about the trail and what I might experience…..but there was no book that could prepare me for what I was to be confronted with.

Now you must understand that I wasn’t in the best of shape to go on this adventure (even though I was 30 years younger than I am today!), and I had never been backpacking before this.  But there was something larger than my mind that was guiding me to commit to this trek…and I thankfully listened.

Many things happened on this 11-mile several day journey to and from Kalalau to test me….. and to absolutely entrance me and take my breath away with the beauty, the wildness, and the wisdom of the natural world.

There were moments going in when I thought I couldn’t go any further, and staying in back of the 3 other people that I had gone with I almost stopped many times, especially after falling in the first couple of miles and injuring my hand!  Yet there was always a nature ally that presented to soothe the pain or calm the fear allowing me to move forward. In this case it was a very cold stream rushing down the mountain that took my hand in an embrace and soothed the swelling and pain until it was completely gone.

The pivotal point for me started on that very first day as we prepared our camp to rest overnight before going the rest of the way the next day.  I had read in my handy travel book that this next section of trail was a difficult one.  In fact, it scared the living daylights out of me!  After starting out on the next day we would very shortly reach a place where there was an incredibly narrow trail, with no handholds, 100’s of feet drop off to our right down onto the jagged rocks and ocean below, and a 90 degree turn with wind blowing.  (and we had heavy backpacks on!)

By the morning of the second day I had worked myself up so much that tears were flowing down my face.  I had told everyone the night before that I wasn’t certain that I would be going any further with them.  Now why was I here??

In a very pivotal moment I was guided to start ahead of everyone else sensing somehow in between the bursts of fear that I was to do this by myself -and before everyone else.  My heart must have been audible to all the wildlife as I came closer to this drop off point, yet in an instant guidance came through that very clearly said to me – take one step at a time, breathe, and be in the moment (and don’t look down).

I followed the wise guidance and when everyone else came around the end they found me huddled to a safe rock on the other side crying my eyes out…not just with relief that I made it, but with gratitude and joy that I had the courage to face a very large fear and get to the other side of it!  My steps along the trail after that experience were quite different than the day prior.

My reward once we got to the beach at the end of the trail?  Prawns in the stream, a beautiful beach with a waterfall for a shower, sunsets that were painted by an artist that definitely knew how to experiment with color, every inch of sky holding a star at night, and about 8 other people who ran the gamut from chiropractor to readjust our spines from the trek, Hawaiian mythology story tellers, and astronomy experts to point out the constellations at night….. all going through life transition.

My biggest reward?  The gift of courage to keep taking one step at a time and be reminded of my deeply interconnected vital life force – a metaphor for my entire life….provided free of charge mind you from natural elements that co-conspired to hold me captive until I got it!  I also felt so deeply aligned within my body once completing that 22 mile journey that I was never quite the same again.  I had come home!

This experience still is embodied within me even though it was over 30 years ago now.  I fully believe that it has assisted me immensely in my current leap from Oregon to Austin, Texas and into a life that holds the gift of deep trust and acting from my fullest creative expression.  This cannot be “learned” through a book or course!

I tell you this story because I would like to see every woman go to a Women’s Empowerment Workshop (or something similar) at least once in her life to embody the “way home” to the next steps she is being asked to take.

Below you will find links and information.  I will see you there!


Vail, CO – Rock climbing, rafting, hiking, photography and working with horses may sound like summer camp activities, but Women’s Empowerment Workshop in Vail, September 15-18, uses these activities to guide women to new depths of self-awareness and personal power. It’s all part of a unique four-day retreat that includes life coaching, yoga and meditation, six webinars, five women authors and two internationally-known women activists.

“There really is nothing else quite like this. Consider it a spa for the soul, and an adventure camp combined,” offered co-founder Susie Kincade. “The key is the experiential aspect. We’ll take women outward into nature to guide them deeply inward. The natural world connects us to everything and to our own wisdom, creativity and power. We’ll teach skills to access that wisdom and power, and anchor them solidly in the body experience; then women can use them anytime, anywhere, from the family room to the boardroom.”

Women’s Empowerment Workshop delivers this empowering experience with a cadre of world-class outdoor guides from Colorado, along with wilderness therapists, authors and teachers of women’s inner wisdom, including life coach Dr. Joan King and nationally-known equine Gestalt specialist Melisa Pearce. And to top it all off, the workshop presents two inspiring, global visionary speakers.

Keynote speaker, Lynne Twist, author of Soul of Money, founder of Pachamama Alliance and Four Years Go, will help women ignite their inner fire and bring their highest self to the world. Shannon Galpin, founder of Mountain2Mountain, will inspire women with her story as a single mother who overcame her own challenges to create opportunities for girls and women in war-torn parts of the world.

The workshop is designed for women of all ages and physical abilities. It is for women who are in transition, or maybe questioning how to meet their full potential in life. And women who are nurturers and want to be rejuvenated; or who are in a position of authority and want to learn how to wield that power for best results. Women who seek to raise their own self-awareness, cultivate creativity and communicate emotional authenticity. Women who want to engage in nature and learn from it. In short, Women’s Empowerment Workshop is a retreat for any woman who wants to be her absolute best — for herself, her family, community and world.

The outdoor explorations will meet each woman where she is in her life, and then nudge her to look deeper and push her edges. For instance, women will learn river skills and how to apply them to life, such as when and how to “eddy out,” and how to scout rapids and navigate turbulent waters. Rock climbing will teach skills for overcoming obstacles in life, how to problem solve, teamwork and communication. Healing through horses helps participants discover how to trust their authentic emotions, and nature photography will teach perspective, patience and how to listen to oneself.

“These activities have plenty to teach, both metaphorically and practically, but a person can’t really get the full benefit of it without getting out there and embodying the experience,” Kincade said.

The workshop also includes Women’s Inner Wisdom seminars that offer valuable self-nurturing and emotional discernment techniques. Daily meditation and yoga, healthy, organic meals, and networking with other amazing women in the spectacular autumn setting of the Vail Racquet Club will round out the retreat.

To register or learn more, visit www.womenempower.us, or call toll-free, 877-595-8622.

SPECIAL OFFER!:  Bring 3 And Attend FREE!  4 friends can share a 2 bdr/2 bath condo for 47.50/night/person! Nice rates.  This also means that you have 3 other women to share with and to support each other once you return home.  It keeps the process moving that was embodied in the workshop!

FREE Webinar! Journeying to the Soul of Nature:
How are we deeply connected to nature and what does this reveal to us as we explore the outdoors?  August 11th, 7-8:30p.m.

Susie Kincade, co-founder of Women’s Empowerment Workshop, Holly Bryson, Wilderness Therapist with Healing Quest, and Melisa Pearce of Touched by a Horse talk about nature as both medium and metaphor for exploring our life’s journey. Listening to nature as opposed to “conquering” it offers some surprising insights into our most

"Between every two pines is a doorway to a new world." ~John Muir

authentic self. Learn tools that help you integrate the peace and freedom of the outdoors into your daily life to feel rejuvenated and grounded. Understand the actual physical processes that occur within the body when nature does its healing and revealing work within you. Discover horses as healing agents who reflect our emotions in a most authentic way.

Sign up  for the webinar today at http://www.instantpresenter.com/AccountManager/RegEv.aspx?PIID=E957DB82864B



Powerful With Feminine Presence

Just this last week I finished a very powerful and important book for women.   Rachael Jayne Groover, Founder of The Yin Project has just launched Powerful and Feminine: How to Increase Your Magnetic Presence & Attract the Attention You Want.  In my second reading of it I decided that it should be a handbook for all women at this particular time on our planet.

On the back of this book there is a sentence that struck me as something that “independent” women should consider.  Yes, it has taken us a long time to prove to the world that we can “do it all”, but – do we really want to??  Do it all in a masculine energy sort of way that is.

The sentence reads, “A forced sense of masculine power is nothing compared to the ecstasy, empowerment, and effortless magnetism that are released when a woman activates her feminine essence“.

What is feminine essence?  It essentially is a state of being that we already have inside of us.  Rachael Jayne states that “The feminine essence is the power of unity, connection and relationship, which weaves all of creation together rather than just focusing on the individual.”  We as women essentially wish to connect with others in a deep and soulful way.

In the past, I have learned along the way to protect myself – those sensual, fluid, feminine, gentle and expansive parts – from the world, especially with men.  Wearing my masculine set of energies clothed in “I can do it and don’t need your help” I unconsciously pushed men and women away.  Yielding was something that I did not trust. I had no idea how to be powerful in a feminine essence sort of way with two exceptions – on the dance floor, and in teaching  fluid, breath filled, exploratory yoga classes.

In essence what I really wanted was to surrender into all of me and bring that out into the world and in relationship.  It is my belief that we as women can assist and support each other to do this inner work, birthing into being a much more balanced and empowered woman – and subsequently releasing our men to embody their deep masculine in healthy and loving relationship with us.

Recently I was introduced to the art of another one of the artists that I had lunch with a week ago here in Austin.  I bring Debra’s art work, for I believe that it represents what this post is discussing.   Below is a brief statement from her (a revealing in depth bio is available on her website) and a few of her art expressions, which to me embody the Powerful and Feminine path that Rachael speaks of.

My life has been a pursuit to learn, develop and explore as though on a quest to discover my authentic self.  The major life changes I have been willing to make to be true to what I feel has been a calling within my soul. I graduated in 2008, at age 50, with a BFA in studio art and painting from TCU.  Being relatively new to my creative endeavors I daily questioned – what is it I am trying to say with my work and what is my style?

How did this form of expression unfold?  I journal, collage, write and have been blessed with a number of wonderful teachers that have been instrumental in my growth.  Today, I finally feel I am right where I am supposed to be in my journey.

Today my canvases are filled with past experiences and interests, resulting in an exploration and exclamation much like my personal journey, all infused with a strong sense of whimsy. Explore my work and see the result of undying tenacity and perseverance, all culminating…to quench the thirst in and of my soul!”

Debra Benditz

Butterflies have been used throughout time and cultures to represent transition, resurrection, celebration, grace and airy lightness.  The Japanese make the butterfly an emblem of womanhood.  Just as a pupae evolves into the butterfly, a woman experiences endless shifts, turns and conditions as she evolves.  This continuous process of maturity allows us to reach full bloom.  Do you see the small eye that is looking back at you wondering where you are in your journey?

All names have meaning and Debra is bee.  In the ancient world bees were seen as harbingers of order and the muses, goddesses of creativity, referred to them as birds.  Roses are ancient symbols of love and beauty.  The ancient Greeks and Romans identified the rose with their goddesses of love, Aphrodite and Venus.  The ultimate symbol of romantic love and enduring passion, the red rose also conveys respect and the romantic notion of love.  The title is a play on words of my name and the muses from whom I seek inspiration.

A woman’s lips are also a visible expression of her fertility.  Collage is used in developing many of the images I paint.  Here a set of lips from a make-up ad were turned vertically and a garden statue was placed in the parting of the lips.  This was then placed within the folds of the rose petals to resemble the center of creativity and pleasure shared by women.  In many cultures of the world, a woman’s mouth and lips are veiled because of their association with the vulva, and because of their role as a woman’s secondary sexual organ.

I believe it is the women in the family that pass on traditions.
Named after my paternal grandmother, the name A’Eola is the feminine form of the ancient Greek god of the winds.  Fluid graceful lines are used to show the forms of the two women embraced.  The older on the left looks down simultaneously while the younger on the right with the red head scarf looks up, her life ahead of her.  As women we share a similar journey. This notion is captured in the painting as a symbolic configuration of elements so unified as a whole that its properties can not be derived from a simple summation of its parts.

Throughout time the peacock has been used for healing.  In ancient  Greece, the peacock was the patron bird of the goddess Hera.  According to myth, she placed “eyes” on its feathers, symbolizing all-seeing knowledge and the wisdom of the heavens.    It is shown on the elders skirt to represent not only the nurturing nature of women but also the wisdom gained through life experiences.

Deep gratitude to both Rachael Jayne and Debra for being wonderful examples of bringing powerful feminine presence out into the world….  may we be inspired to do the same!



Looking Past Limits

I turn 63 years old in just a matter of a couple of weeks.  Two days before this day of my birth celebration I am taking flight by heading off down the road to visit family, friends, and new places all on the way to my new home in Austin, Texas.

Unhooking from a “conventional job” with all the trimmings, leaving my little cottage in the Oregon countryside, saying farewell to friends, and generally being aware of letting go of perceived limitations there is an excitement that is building inside.

There is no “job” to greet me on the other side, home to put my belongings in,  man to greet me with open arms, family to be closer to, or known territory to feel “safe” in….yet there is possibility, mystery, and new territory to open to and explore.  Is this what looking past limits is made of?

Mary Oliver said it in her poem, A Summer Day, with the line – “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”  I love this line!  Do you know?  Well, it is never too late to breathe wildness into that precious life and find out!  We may not know how, but believing in the innate gifts we hold inside is essential.

Whether a woman knows it or not, she is a vessel of great magnitude born capable of reshaping humanities destiny if she only knew the true depths of her innate gifts. Be prepared now to see the fierce face of the feminine rock as her inner geographies of volcanic strength erupt from a love she has held in her belly for life all of her days. This is not a gasp of her last breath. It is her birthing cry into her wise leadership on our planet.” ~ Alisa Starkweather

Each of us as women need to hear of others that are doing this same thing as we leap off into the passionate expression of our deepest longings.  Below is a very powerful TED video with Caroline Casey which is well worth the time spent to listen to it in its entirety.

How will you spend the next days/months/years of this one wild and precious life?



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