Transformation gathers into
all that’s been denied, hidden
The chrysalis dissolves
But the watery grave
from which the butterfly’s
winged glory rises
is the humble worm’s
pungent dream of flight
Transformation gathers into
all that’s been denied, hidden
The chrysalis dissolves
But the watery grave
from which the butterfly’s
winged glory rises
is the humble worm’s
pungent dream of flight
Support and provision are qualities of soul. Along with other essence qualities like power, love, truth and abundance, they emerge from the field of unity, of formlessness, and are at the heart of all forms of life.
Both support and provision are also among the primary qualities of your first chakra, the energy center that shapes your incarnation and your sense of safety, grounding, and belonging. When you truly know that you are safe and supported, when you know – viscerally and unmistakably – that you are provided for with every breath you take, that knowledge frees you to become more fully yourself. It frees you to participate in the life of the world as a source of those qualities that you alone can bring to it.
This doesn’t mean that you’ll never experience fear or doubt. These feelings, too, are part of the human experience, and they will arise to greater or lesser degree each time you choose to leave the safety of what you know, to discover what you don’t yet know or to create something new.
Support and provision give you the foundation you need to risk stepping into your future, even when you don’t know what it holds. Because something greater than your singular self holds you, provides for you, and sustains you. If you fall, you have a soft, loving lap to hold you until you’re ready to stand up again, to move towards your heart’s true desires.
As the year draws to a close, I feel it in my body — a bone-deep need for rest, for solitude. The sweet ache of my soul for its own company. The longing to return to the quiet rhythms of my heartbeat after months of joyfully singing with the choir.
It’s been a rich, full year, brimming with blessings. More than 35 years of teaching, writing, creating, and still, today, this work, and the people whom I am privileged to walk alongside and delighted to serve, remain my most beloved teachers.
My students and clients keep expanding into the infinite bounty of their inner being. And, as they become more fully themselves — as they shape their businesses around their soul’s deepest desires — they create abundance, peace and delight for themselves and their world.
It happens part-way through every program I teach. Struggle and frustration, despair and aborted dreams give way to bright enthusiasm, abiding faith — the astonishing discovery that miracles flow from our fingertips when we find and truly inhabit our place in wholeness.
Wholeness is our natural state. We are born whole. We arrive here knowing we belong in the larger Wholeness that is our home.
And yet, from the moment we arrive in this world — drunk on light and drenched in glory — we are shaped by the world around us. The noise and glitter of it, its agony and brokenness, the empty stories we are told and, half-bewildered, come to believe — all of these fall like thick shadows between us and our souls. They separate us from the truth of who we really are.
To rediscover and inhabit our wholeness, we need time, spaciousness, solitude — and skills. We need daily practices that restore us to ourselves, that bring us back to who we really are.
You may already have a daily practice – meditation or dance, yoga, chi kung, prayer or gratitude — that brings you back to the heart of belonging. If you do, you likely also have a structure in place that supports you in using it.
Here are some of the structures that support me.
My daily practice is anchored by placing myself in the presence of the Sacred, at least four times each day – when I first awake, before opening my eyes; after I’ve brushed my teeth, showered and dressed; at the end of my work day; in bed at night, before drifting off to sleep.
Each day includes a conscious attunement to the Devas of those qualities I wish to embody more fully. I commune with one or more of these Devas, and use energy alchemy skills and tools to participate in their activity – to increase my capacity to hold, radiate, act from, and express those qualities in my life.
I also cleanse, balance and harmonize my energy body daily — in the morning, at the start of my day; before and after each session with a client, or each class I teach; and again at the end of the day.
All of these are foundational practices for me – I have done them for most of my life, so they are deeply familiar, and deeply comforting. At the same time, each one is utterly unique — a moment of relationship and communion unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before. The practice is ultimately just me, open to the presence of the Mystery.
And then, there are practices that bring me into relationship with my world through the ordinary, grace-filled moments of each day. A prayer of gratitude each time I brush my teeth. A blessing of love and appreciation for my chair, each time I sit in it; for my computer, each time I use it. Deep gratitude for the breath that fills my lungs; love and appreciation for the food that nourishes my cells; the book that inspires and delights; the tree outside my window that yields so gracefully to the caress of the wind.
We belong in the lap of wholeness. We are the human body of divine providence.
Our belonging gives us that most precious of resources — the unshakable experience of being held in the lap of the Sacred, and the brimming joy of our creative potency, of being the activity of the Sacred in the world.
We are the source of all that we seek.
Love. Safety. Provision.
Generosity. Kindness. Spaciousness. Joy.
We are that.
We are all of that, and more.
As creative beings, as entrepreneurs, we blend art and beauty, inspiration and freedom, power and communion into a richly savory broth that nourishes the whole, hungry world.
Yes, we are divinely human. And, we have deeply human needs for rest and replenishment. Nature’s rhythms are our rhythms writ large.
So, for now, I am taking time to be with that quieter, deeper pulse. To rest in stillness until it naturally flows into movement. To play, quietly or exuberantly. To read poetry. Walk by the sea. To write, when the spirit moves me. To appreciate the gifts of this exquisitely intelligent world.
I trust you will do this too, in your own timing and in your own way. My wish for you, this new year, is that you find that place of stillness where you can hear the song of your creative heart. Away from the bright tumult of the holidays, into the primal womb of the generative dark.
The night sky reveals the fire of the stars.
And, if you wish to explore and inhabit more of your own genius, in community with others who are on the path of soul-infused creation, please join me on Tuesday, January 6th at 10 am Pacific Time for a free teleclass.
We’ll spend an hour together, exploring practices and processes for living your life and shaping your world from the inside out. This teleclass is a preview of my 8-week program, How to Rule Your World from the Inside Out: The Art of Inner Leadership. Click here to find the date and time in your own time zone.
The program begins on January 19th. I’ll lead you on an eight-week journey into soul-powered living, creative sovereignty and the freedom that comes from belonging fully to yourself and your world.
See you there!
My dear friend, Jen Louden, is a writer, wise woman, and personal growth pioneer who helped launch the self-care movement with her first book, The Woman’s Comfort Book. She is the author of five additional books on well-being and whole living, including The Woman’s Retreat Book, and The Life Organizer.
Jen has led hundreds of retreats and online programs, written a national magazine column, and spoken around the world (and on Oprah’s couch), all in service to helping women choose vibrant lives they love. On September 17th, she’s offering a free Life Navigation Primer call, a preview of her upcoming Life Navigation Course.
As a prelude to this call, Jen has curated a series of articles on her blog by asking ten women to respond to this question: How do you create the life you want?
I interviewed Jen last week, and asked her how she creates the life she wants. It’s a question we’ve both been exploring in one form or another for most of our working lives. I know it’s one that many of you are asking and talking about, too. Listen in on our conversation, below.
Then, explore this question with the ones you love. And, if you feel inspired, head on over to my Facebook page and share your story: How do you create the life you want? How do you stay true to yourself when life becomes challenging? How do you open to embrace the gifts that life brings you, and embody more of the joy that is at the heart of your own being?
Your personal power derives from everything you are and do. It grows or diminishes, depending on the choices you make, the actions you take, and the rhythms and patterns by which you live your life.
Your genetic makeup, your physical health and well-being, your emotional resiliency, your mental acuity and your energetic strength and flexibility all contribute to your personal power. So do the health of your relationships with others, with the natural world, with your home, your work, your creativity, your culture and your community.
You grow your personal power by being true to yourself, by giving yourself what you need, when you need it, by honoring your desires, by nourishing your heart and the heart of the world, by living your deepest values.
When you do what you say you’re going to do, you enhance your personal power. When you keep your promises to yourself, you gain power. When you align your choices and actions with your soul’s purposes, and your true desires and intentions, you develop your personal power.
You may have lost touch with your personal power. You may have contracted away from it, or ignored it, or bought into a story that you don’t have it. Your capacity to hold and express your power may wax and wane, depending on what’s going on in your life, who you’re with, and what your circumstances are.
But power itself is a quality of your soul. It is in you, as a seed or potential, waiting for you to claim it, develop your capacity to express it and use it skillfully to create your heart’s truest desires.
And, because power is a spiritual quality, it brings you into harmony and resonance with all beings, both in the incarnate world and in the subtle energy realms. It unites you with the soul of the earth, the Deva of the Cosmos, and the entire, sacred web of creation.
When you truly understand this, in a practical way, you recognize that everything you choose to create is really a co-creation. You learn to work in partnership with the powers of wholeness – from those that are closest to you, like the soul or Deva of your business, your family, and your home, to those that may seem impossibly far away, like the Devas of galaxies, universes and multidimensional realms far removed from our own.
Power is the first quality to emerge from formlessness into form. It gives shape and form to all of life.
But power is also a function of your incarnation, your personhood.
Aspects of Personal Power
Your personal power is composed of a number of qualities, including sovereignty, self-esteem, self-knowledge, self-appreciation, grounding, and the ability to be centered, present and focused. It includes strong, flexible, permeable boundaries, understanding, and insight.
There are a number of different aspects to personal power. Among them are the power to see, the power to choose, and the power to act.
The Power to See
First of all, you can choose how and what you see. You choose the lens through which you focus. You can choose to see the circumstances of your life as opportunities for growth and creation or you can choose to see them as wounds and disabilities.
Or you can simply choose to see them as they are. You can choose to see the continuum through which your soul carries you through experiences of wounding and disability into growth and creation.
How you see yourself and the world around you will determine what your experiences of that world will be.
Seeing, in other words, is in some way about belief.
If you believe that your relationship to the world is an antagonistic one, that the world is a scary place and you have to protect yourself from it, then you will diminish and deplete your power. Your power will move out to the boundary of your space to try and defend it, leaving the interior of your space – your inner self – vacant rather than filled with your presence.
When you are absent rather than present, you become more afraid, because you are disconnected from the source of your power. You also become more vulnerable to energies entering your space that don’t honor your sovereignty.
When you dissolve or transform the beliefs and stories that keep you from seeing things as they are, you clear the distorting lenses that shape your experience of reality. You see people and situations in their wholeness – their contradictions, vulnerability and fragmentation, as well as their beauty, strength, and delight – rather than through the scrim of your fears, acquired or inherited beliefs, projections and fantasies.
This is where the energy alchemy skills that you learn in Become Your Own Business Adviser can be very helpful.
The Power to Choose
A second aspect of power is the power to choose. Once you’ve seen reality as it is, you can choose to create more of the same reality, or you can choose to create something entirely different. Or you might choose to create something that builds on the past to shape a more vibrant future.
You have the power to choose what you’re going to create. That’s where purpose and intention enter into the picture.
You can choose your values. You can choose how you think, how you act, what you put your energy into, who you hang out with. Choose what you say Yes to, and what you say No to.
When your choices are in alignment with your vision, your values, and your soul’s purpose, they have the power of an arrow flying directly at its mark. The more you bring your choices into alignment with your values and your soul, the more power you will have.
The Power to Act
Another very important aspect of power is the power to act. You can choose to act in ways that support your values or that diminish them. You can act to enhance and contribute to the whole, or you can act in ways that benefit yourself at the expense of the whole – in which case, you will diminish yourself because whatever happens to the whole happens to you too.
You can act in alignment with Source or you can act against it.
When you own your power to see, to choose, and to act, you stand in your power, you stand in your sovereignty. Your desires manifest very quickly. The gap between your desire, intention, action and fulfillment becomes invisible.
When you don’t own your power, when you are stuck in narratives about victim-hood or obsess over your wounds or don’t follow through on your values and your commitments, you become less powerful, less effective.
Right relationship with power is essential for successfully creating anything – in your business and in your life.
If we are so powerful, why do we sometimes feel so powerless? Why do we forget that we have the power of the stars and galaxies, of the Earth itself, in our bellies and lungs, in our bones and hearts?
We live in a culture that surrounds us with reminders of our powerlessness. We are bombarded with messages about what we don’t have, what we must have in order to be happy, successful, fulfilled. We live in an environment seething with not-enoughness. It pulls us out of our bodies, out of ourselves, and leaves us stranded on the far shore of striving to be smarter, richer, thinner, cleaner, more evolved, more innovative, more something.
When we believe we are not enough, we separate from ourselves. We disconnect from our bodies, our feelings, our sacredness, our souls — from the very sources of our power and nourishment. And, because our relationship with ourselves is the foundation for all of our relationships, we disconnect from the earth, the natural world, and the sacred life all around us.
It’s no wonder, then, that we lose touch with the power we embodied so naturally and effortlessly when we were first born, when we were very young children.
I don’t want to sentimentalize childhood. The limitless qualities of our souls – love, freedom, abundance power — are vibrantly present in us when we are very young, but we have yet to develop the capacity to use these qualities effectively and skillfully. We have yet to learn how these infinite forces function, in a world that is defined by boundaries and limits. It’s what childhood is for – to learn, to grow, to experiment in the playground of incarnation.
My granddaughter, who’s just turned three, has been playing with power and the limits of power more consciously, in the past few months. She’s figuring out how power works. Her mum asks her if she wants a snack, and she roars NO! at the top of her lungs – just because she can. Then she laughs uproariously, filled with gleeful delight at her own capacity to choose, and climbs up onto the kitchen chair to devour her milk and carrot sticks.
Her relationship with power remains an exploratory one – free of guilt, shame, blame, and the rest of the gremlins that beset us as we grow up and take on the shapes imposed upon us by our world.
Our families, schools and other social and educational institutions make sure we understand and obey the agreed-upon norms of our society. It’s an uneasy — and I hope, temporary — but necessary accommodation. We can’t go around yelling NO! to things we actually want, because if we do, they will no longer be available to us.
We can’t even yell NO! to things we don’t want, because we live in a world of relationships, and relationships require empathy, kindness, courtesy, and yes, tact, give-and-take, the willingness to be flexible and open to other points of view.
So, in training to be social beings, we learn both the helpful and the not-so-helpful accommodations of civil society. We learn to listen and be receptive to others, but we also learn to dissemble, to tell polite white lies, to hide our true feelings and pretend to like things we don’t. We hold ourselves back from voicing our true desires. We turn away from that which we truly long for.
Eventually, when we’ve done this for long enough, we grow distant from our desires until we no longer know what we feel, what we want, or how to find our way back home to who we really are. We numb out. We fill the void left by our unfulfilled desires with things, people, and experiences that are poor substitutes for our own soul’s essence. We give over, give away or throw away our power until we no longer have access to it.
The resulting feelings of powerlessness take us even further away from our wholeness, from the essential wholeness and power of the world.
And so the cycle is perpetuated. It’s that disconnection from power that gives rise to mechanisms of control, abuse of authority, and social, economic, and religious structures that serve a small minority at the expense of everyone else.
We experience abuses of power – in our homes and families, classrooms, financial institutions, social and economic systems. We experience the ways in which power is unequally distributed and misused in our workplaces, in our systems of governance and justice.
We react to this growing body of experience and understanding in a variety of ways. Some of us shrink away from the responsibility of owning and wielding power because we are afraid of the corrupting influence of power. Or we become mired in anger, blame, impotence or beliefs about power and powerlessness that keep us from accessing the depths of our own personal power, and using it in service to wholeness through focused, inspired, collaborative action.
Eventually, we forget that power is a quality of soul, that it is within us and cannot be taken away from us, no matter what. We identify ourselves and others as victims, we carve up our world into ideological categories – oppressors, victims, oppressed. And we contribute to the distortions that come from conflating the uses and abuses of power with its essence, which is the activity of love.
Power is a quality of your soul. On a soul level, you have access to all the powers of wholeness — in this world and in the subtle energy worlds. When I say that the powers of the stars and galaxies, of the Earth and sun, are in you, I mean this quite literally. You can access these powers in your own energy body, once you develop the consciousness, skill and capacity to do so.
Much of the work we do in Become Your Own Business Adviser is this work of accessing and developing your power and other soul qualities, embodying and expressing them in your business and in your daily life.
As you do this work of inner growth and transformation, everything changes. Your life, your business, unfold with what seems like miraculous ease. Yet ease is also a soul quality, and one of the hallmarks of power.
Power wielded in service to love, in harmony with wholeness, is among the most creative forces in the universe.
Power is one of the qualities of your soul. You were born with the quality of power pulsing through every cell of your body. It is what enabled you to make the journey from formlessness into form, from essence into incarnation. Without power, you would not exist.
So power is within you, always, just as it is within all forms of creation. Look out your window. That tree, with its bright green leaves, that squirrel scurrying through the grass, that blue sky, those scudding clouds – they all exude power, because each is an expression of spirit in the material world. And spirit can only become matter through the activity of power.
Power remains vibrantly alive in the natural world, where it is renewed through organic cycles and seasonal processes. It’s the reason why walking in the woods, climbing a mountain, swimming in the ocean, working in your garden, lying on a beach and looking up at the stars in the night sky can leave you feeling replenished, deeply rested, as powerful as a planet.
When you consciously connect with it, the natural world lends you its power, and helps you restore your own.
And yet, in the daily rub of life and work, of growing and caring for your business, your family, your body, your home, it’s easy to become disconnected from your soul, and with it, from the source of your power. When your website is hacked, or your child is ill, or that project you’ve poured your heart into doesn’t pan out, you can feel defeated, powerless, at the mercy of forces beyond your control.
There’s the rub. We mistake control for power, and become discouraged when we encounter what we cannot control. The truth is, life has its own rhythm and timing, its own inner logic and flow. We have very little control over what happens around us. But, we do have power.
We are powerful, when we choose to be.
Nelson Mandela used the long years of his imprisonment to develop inner power and freedom. So did Viktor Frankl, in Nazi death camps. They did this by choosing their state of consciousness – they chose clarity, peace, truth, freedom. They chose to meet the fist of brutality with the immense power of the human spirit.
Power is the active form of Love. Control, on the other hand, is powerlessness masquerading as power.
If you want to develop your power and grow your business as an expression of your most profound vision and genius, join me and our community of creative entrepreneurs for the Fall session of Become Your Own Business Adviser. The program begins on September 15th.
This 12-week journey will restore you to the magic and mystery of business as a creative agent of the Sacred in the world. Experience what it feels like to unfold the true majesty of your own being, and to create, in your business, a world that supports everyone in becoming more fully, more powerfully themselves.
As entrepreneurs, we are as prolific as a summer garden. We create new offers, launch new programs, shape new business models, write, videotape, record and offer the fruits of our genius in a hundred different ways, every single day.
It can feel like flying into the sun.
Each time you create something truly new – each time you do something you’ve never done before – new aspects of your soul come into incarnation. You are inspired, focused, devoted. That creative joy, that unwavering flame of desire, ignites your power and fuels you through the hours of writing, shaping, crafting your heart’s work. Power, alignment, support and determination carry you through to your project’s completion.
And then. You get ready to present your new baby to your world — and the voices of fear wobble and quaver. They lumber out of their caves, grumbling loudly, growing more clamorous, insistent, until your high blue flight crashes down into the murk of what-if and yes-but and midnight terrors that leave you gasping for air. Who do you think you are? What if no-one signs up for my program, buys my product, wants my heart’s work? I’ll lose everything I’ve worked so hard for – I’ll die alone, unloved, living in a cardboard box.
Oh, those voices — those awfully convincing, utterly unreliable voices! They can stop you in your tracks, if you let them. They can cause you to stumble right before you reach the finish line.
There are two primary ways of meeting and dissolving fear. Both require power.
The first remedy for fear is love. Embrace your fearful selves with love, understanding and tenderness, and they will melt into your embrace instead of fighting you for control.
The other way is to bring a clearer, stronger vibration into the encounter with fear.
Love and power are both soul qualities. Power is the active form of love. It is also the other face of fear.
Turn on your power, and fear disappears.
Try it. See what happens. Share your discoveries here, or in the privacy of your own journal.
There’s still time to sign up and join us for tomorrow’s free teleclass, Create With Power. We’ll play with the energy alchemy of power, and learn how to gather power to create whatever we choose. See you there!