Since I began dreaming up the Being & Unbecoming circle four things keep appearing to me, declaring a piece of this next iteration of my work circling with women, this next iteration my own soul work: the word Dare, women with Pink Hair, images of jaguars, and Wonder Women (and other super heroines, but mostly WW). Over and over the images came up or the word makes itself known to me. Over and over I get a small thrill, a chill that runs through my bones and womb and heart, when these images and word appear.
Dare to do this work.
Dare to dive into the depths of who I am.
Dare to shed all that has been holding me back.
Dare to rebel against those myths and stories that have tried to box me in, to define me in ways that aren’t at all me.
Dare to circle with other women, ready to do this deep work, ready to reconnect with their own power and strength and embodied knowing.
Dare to take myself to this next level.
Jaguars. Every where jaguars appear to me. In the magazines. On mailers. On TV. In books for the kids and for me. In my social media feeds. Again and again, they step out of their dens, inviting me in, to do this shadow work, to embrace my own power, to release this layer of fear, to connect to my own embodied knowing.
Dare to release fears. Dare to connect to my own power. Dare to awaken that inner sight, that embodied knowing.
Women with pink hair. Everywhere again. In the same yet different places the jaguars have been beckoning me. I’ve had pink hair on and off since I was a teen. For me it represents both rebelling against social norms and embracing my “traditional” femininity, my “girlness.” Pink hair both declares: I’m not going to play by your rules, and I love all things traditionally female. Pink hair is bold. It’s brazen. It makes a statement. It says fuck you to the status quo while giving it a nod and knowing wink. Yes, I’m female and I’ll wear pink, but only on my terms, only in my way.
Ironically, since leaving engineering I have shied away from my pink hair. Stories of what a “proper therapist” looks like swirling in my head, wanting to be taken seriously, not wanting to work so fucking hard for respect and understanding from those in power, those in authority. “Real” therapists have natural colored hair, my inner shamer says. It was okay to be so daring in the corporate world, but honey, you’re going to have your own business, you need to calm down and grow up.
What??!!! Because having pink hair as an electrical engineer… what? It made me stand out. It made me both noticeable and memorable. It added to my glow, not detracted from it. It made me different from the rest of the pack and my clients loved that. It added to my image of thinking outside of the box, of giving them something fresh and new and unique. Because, tell me, how many pink haired electrical engineers do you know?
And why would this be any different for me as a therapist? Why would it not make me stand out. Why would it not add to what I have to offer those who come to see me? Wouldn’t it only add to my image of writer, rebel and guide? Wouldn’t it add to me being uniquely and authentically me? Isn’t that what I want to model for women, for my kids? To be unapologetically yourself, rainbow hair or clothes or whatever and all?
(Because, tell me, how many pink haired therapists do you know?)
Dare to have pink hair.
Dare to take that next step of releasing those stories that aren’t true.
Dare to let go of my need for approval from those in “authority.”
Dare to allow myself to be seen, noticed, remembered.
Dare to allow myself to glow right on through.
Dare to be wholly and holy me and set this world on fire, pink hair and all.
Wonder Woman. Oh Wonder Woman. How I have worshiped her since childhood. How I wanted to be her. I so desperately wanted WW under-roos, but never got them. I did have a WW swimsuit though. And my WW Barbie. Who I loved so much. So very, very much. I watched Linda Carter portray WW each week, and practiced my spin to turn into her myself. I made my own golden lasso out of some rope and my bullet bracelets out of some old costume jewelry.
Wonder Woman loved animals, was kind and strong and knew how and when to kick ass and when words alone would do the trick. She had the lasso of truth that would make the bad guys admit just how bad they were. She was a gentle mother figure and protector, both things I so desperately needed and wanted as a child. She was both who I wanted to become and who I wanted to save me.
And in some ways, both have happened: I have become her in many ways, and in many ways she has saved my life by giving me a role model to look up to, by allowing me to honor my own softness and strength and kick-assness and diplomacy. By reminding me, over and over, that the Truth will always come out, and that the bad guys will be stopped.
Dare to find strength in softness.
Dare to have the wisdom to know when to kick ass and when diplomacy will do.
Dare to know the truth, my own truth, of my own power.
Dare to unbind myself from the chains of the myths and stories that hold me down.
I feel the power of these images, these words, what they speak to me, how they are speaking through me. I get a literal zing in my body each time a woman steps forward to join this quest to unbecoming and being. Thinking about the program, the energy it holds, brings the biggest smile to my face. I feel it, the magic, the power, the energy, of this next iteration.
For me. For the women who have gathered. For the women who are finding their way to this work.
The power of women joining together. In love, support and witnessing.
One of the questions on the check-in questionnaire is if you agree to follow the three guidelines for this circle: 1. No comparing or judging; 2. What we share in the circle stays in the circle; and 3. No giving advice (unless specifically requested).
One and three are particularly tough for most of us. Not comparing ourselves, or our experiences, with others. We sit and think of where we “should” be or what we “should” have accomplished by now and can get lost and sucked so deeply into that downward spiral of guilt and shame. Comparing only serves to make us feel less than, not enough, not good. Here’s the truth: our experience is our experience. It is neither good nor bad. It should not have been any other way, because it is part of what brought you to where you are today. It is part of what will get you to where you are going tomorrow, next week, next year and next decade. It is your journey, the one you needed to find your way home to you. Each step, each experience, vitally important. Each journey has unique details, and if we listen and honor each other we’ll see our common threads and how they have played out in our unique lives. We’ll see what brings us together, what links us in sisterhood. It’s not about comparing. It’s about knowing, deep in our bones, that regardless of what another has (or has not) experienced, we are all in this together.
Number three is the one I have received several comments on. Not giving advice. We’re fixers, us women. We see a problem, see a person we love in pain, and we want to heal it. We want to make the issue go away, and honestly if the person would just take our advice, it would all be so simple. (wink, wink, nudge, nudge). I’m a chronic advice giver. Seriously the worst. I’m admitting this as a therapist in training: sitting and listening to another person’s pain, holding the space, not interjecting, not trying to fix—hardest thing ever. It doesn’t come naturally for me. I want to wrap my clients up in warm blankets and hold them and rock them and (here’s the bad part) tell them exactly what they need to do to feel better. I’m getting better at not giving advice in my professional realm. And I’m very much a work in progress in my personal world.
Here’s the thing about giving advice though: when we give advice, we aren’t honoring the person who just spilled their guts all over the floor for us. We are, unintentionally, telling this person, who is in his or her most vulnerable place, that hey, that’s nice, and really if you only did this thing I’m going to tell you, you’d totally be out of this mess (or would have never been in it in the first place). It’s telling the person we don’t have time for their pain, to shut up and fix the problem already. It’s showing the person that it certainly is not safe to share intimate pieces of themselves. And here’s the truth: it’s judging. Because if the person were only wise enough to do what you tell them, well, it would all be okay. And clearly there is something wrong with the person if they don’t take your advice, if they don’t just “fix it.”
Advice giving comes from a place of discomfort. Being a fixer comes from being uncomfortable with what is “broken” or messy or raw. Part of not giving advice is learning to sit with this discomfort, to allow our own messiness to bubble up. To be as okay with those icky parts of ourselves or our stories as we claim to be with that of others. Not giving advice means honoring and truly seeing the other person, allowing ourselves to give the space for another person to simply be, to find her way in her own time, to uncover and reveal her truths not only to everyone else in the circle, but most importantly to herself.
Wonder Woman never gave advice, by the way. She listened empathically and then acted appropriately (either by kicking ass or continuing to listen, to hold space).
Dare to sit with the discomfort.
Dare to witness other women. Dare to be witnessed.
Dare to be okay with the messy, the raw, the “broken.”
Dare to listen, and not only that, but to hear others and their experience.
Dare to be heard. Dare to speak of your life without comparing, without shame.
Dare to show up, just as you are.
Dare to shed the stories that no longer serve you.
Dare to glow.
Dare to embrace your inner jaguar. Dare to don pink hair. Dare to be Wonder Woman.
Dare to come home to you. Dare to be exactly who you were meant to be. You may have taken the long way, and you have known your destination all along.
Dare to be you. Fully. Unapologetically. Unashamedly. You.
There is still time to join the next iteration, the circle-quest to you. Click here to request a short check-in questionnaire so we can get to know each other. Space is limited. Dare to join us, dare to come home to yourself, dare to explore the power of you.