April 23, 2015

In Praise of the Pig-Headed Girl

pigheaded

I have always been a pig-headed girl. Always. Sometimes overtly, sometimes subversively. I secretly thought my way was always the best way. I had no tolerance for a certain kind of conformity. I got severely reprimanded for using orange typing paper by my closeted high school English teacher, since the white-out I used was, well […]

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March 31, 2015

Notes from my dressing room

weekendone-feature

I am writing to you from my dressing room. It’s 5:12pm on Sunday afternoon, and we have just wrapped the first weekend of Mastery 2015. Moments ago, I left a stage filled with dancing, hugging women, turned on and ecstatic, at a level I have never ever experienced on a first Mastery weekend. This work […]

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March 24, 2015

The Book of Ruth

ruth-barron

“whither thou goest, i will go. whither thou lodgest, i will lodge. thy people shall be my people, and thy god my god.” – the book of ruth I want to talk about Sisterhood. And Callings. As in – the thing we are called to do in this life. The archaic definition of the word […]

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March 17, 2015

6 Mistakes That Keep You in Indecision

indecision

It is so easy to make the same choice over and over and over again. Making a bold decision, and stepping into something new is almost impossibly difficult. Usually we have to be chased by something achingly painful – like a viciously unhappy relationship. Or deep physical discomfort. Or a job we hate that does […]

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March 10, 2015

This only happens once a year.

mastery-faq-feature

Mastery 2015 kicks off in a few weeks, and we’ve had phenomenal questions flowing in. Today, I’ve invited a posse of my graduates to answer them, because the best way to understand this work is through the story lines of women who have experienced it. (If you’re already clear about Mastery, one way or the […]

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How the hell is this my life?

Sister Goddess Leslie, Age 41

When I walked through the doors of the School of Womanly Arts, I was getting a divorce at the age of 37. I was beyond devastated. On the other side of this journey, I am a proud new mama at the age of 41, partnered with my husband and best friend, and surrounded by sisters. It’s been a ride, an epic journey that started right around rock bottom. . .

February 2011. I was sitting staring blankly at my computer screen at work on a cold Monday morning, thinking, “How did I get here? How the hell is this my life?”

I had spent the previous weekend at an entrepreneurship workshop, trying to figure out how I was going to pay my bills now that I was single again. But rather than talking about strategy or refining my pitch, I basically spent the entire weekend crying. I had a pretty regular practice of crying back then; tears were almost always smarting behind my eyes, as much as I tried to look like I had it together.

I wasn’t happily married, and actually had wanted the divorce for a long time, but now that it was really happening, I totally fell apart.

Rather than feeling liberation and excitement about a new beginning, I felt lost and really alone.

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Do you get as good as you give?

After watching the Golden Globes the other night, I just had to check out the film BOYHOOD. I especially loved Patricia Arquette’s acceptance speech, where she said:

“You placed in my hands the part of Olivia, an under-appreciated single mother. Thank you for shining a light on this woman, and the millions of women like her, and allowing me to honor my own mother with this beautiful character.”

‘An unappreciated single mother’ rang my gong.
I am one of those gals who brings home the bacon, fries it up in a pan, helps with homework, volunteers at school, works out, and squeezes in a social life.

I see it all around me.
Women, doing a shit ton.
Going above and beyond.
Continually.
At work – staying late, being brilliant, giving their all and then some.
Maybe married with husband, but still carrying the weight of the child-rearing and the home-making.

You all know women, or you are women, who over-deliver. It is a storyline of our time. A woman takes it all on . . . at the expense of what? At the expense of herself.

One woman, who is new to my work and joining an upcoming course, wrote in:

“I have changed so much since becoming a mother of 2 sweet and busy boys. I used to be a spunky outgoing girl fearless of anything. Now I worry about lots of life’s challenges and feel as if I am not spunky at all. I look at old pictures and I need that girl back.”

Big sigh.
I really liked that Boyhood brought this cultural thread forward.
Because it’s true in every socioeconomic demographic – women have pressed the accelerator, they are not letting up, and a toll is being taken.

Women are giving at a new velocity.
Whether it’s single moms, for their kids.
Or successful business women, for their career.
Or daughters, looking after their aging parents.

This is an observation – not a criticism.
I would never have learned the depth and breadth of my talents, if I had not taken all the responsibility.
And I learned something very important, that I want all women to know.

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Have you hit your moment yet?

So, last Sunday I finally finished the first draft of the second chapter of my new book. I was right on deadline, even a few days early. (Quick brag: This book has been writing itself. I am so happy writing it, and it is so much fun­ I feel like Jimi Hendrix, Santana, Springsteen­­, at the top of my game­ letting the chords fly from my fingers!)

I was 53 pages of toasted, so I decided to zone out on some random TV, as Maggie and I awaited the start of the new season of Downton Abbey. I cruised past Oprah’s interview with Pharrell, from last April, and tuned in. Have you seen it?

Pharrell spent almost the whole interview in tears. Tears of gratitude at having been given this chance, finally, to sing the song of his truth,­ the music that was his to bring to the world­, and to have it be so incredibly well-received.

He talked about ‘his moment,’­ that this was ‘his time.’ He had spent the previous 20 years supporting other artists­: Madonna, Beyonce, J­Lo, Britney, and many, many more­. A few years before, he had been given the chance to bust out on his own, what looked like it was going to be “his moment” – but his ego messed him up, and he went back behind the scenes of other artists.

But then, last year, with the uber hit “Happy” (did someone say dance break?) and his album G I R L, he went from the background to the foreground. Big time. It almost felt like he was carried there.

It got me thinking about that experience in a woman’s life, when she knows it’s her time, her moment. Her breakthrough. The line in the sand, when that was then, and this is now.

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You may or may not know this yet, but one of the reasons you joined this community is that you wanted to get really, really good at the Art of Yearning.

Yearning is a way for a woman to spend her life in connection with Spirit.

As we sink into this fresh New Year, many of us are thinking about what to make of 2015 — what we want to accomplish, discover, create, become.

This season, women everywhere are fiercely scribbling their resolutions and trying to muster the willpower to stay on track. (And we all know how that usually works out . . .)

Today, I want to recommend a new kind of discipline.
A feminine approach to committing to what we desire in the year ahead.
A devotion to the Art of Yearning.

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Ok, ok, ok.
Enough already with the resolutions and goals and intentions and desires.
I, personally, have no urge to improve or change, or upgrade myself.
I just want to take a moment and celebrate.
Myself.
And YOU.
Seriously – this won’t take long and then we can head right back and join all our friends who are busy making resolutions.

At the School, we do this thing called Favorite Frames.
Whenever we get together, either live or on the phone, we take a few minutes at the end to digest the experience of being together. What happened? Who shone brightly? Who contributed? What magic did we make? Where were we touched? Moved? Opened?

Here’s the thing: as I like to say, undigested goodness turns to shit.
Taking the time to savor your own brilliance, your own accomplishment, your own experience of the world you have created — this actually allows you to create even more beautifully and powerfully, and attract even more into your life.
Take a moment to soak in everything you’ve accomplished, discovered, experienced, become, and survived over the past year.

Here are a few favorite frames from us, the gang here at SWA, of 2014:

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