In September 2013 I packed for an unknown voyage. My relationship was in question and I had just left a great job that seemed perfect for me on paper. In reality, I had lost sight of who I was without the relationship, the apartment, the job, the external signs that I was moving forward in my life. For many of us, the Omega Women’s Leadership Intensive became our “before” and “after.” Returning to the Omega Institute for a week felt like the next right thing. I knew the organizers and trusted they were creating something magical. For weeks I contemplated whether it made sense to quit my job before or after this weeklong workshop. I could never have dreamed up this convention of powerful women. I was feeling really down, I couldn’t comprehend how I had been invited to join this sacred circle. I had a case of imposter syndrome-there must have been a mistake, I insecurely thought.
This week at Omega reignited my passion and hunger for all that makes me come alive. The adventures and risks I took in the 6 months following this experience have been invaluable to me. But this piece is a reflection, and a Thank You to those women who continue to give me so much.
What I took with me on my journey:
A robust support system of women whose faith in me would sustain me in the years to come
An understanding of how to set goals, hold myself accountable, and integrate my personal and professional visions
Friendship and mentors
The profound experience of sisterhood
How shall we live?
Singing, coaching, heart centered, running, partnering, speaking out, raising children, running for office, dancing, feeling, leading, creating, advocating, shifting office cultures, taking care of ourselves, hugging, renewing vows, executing our own visions, writing, yoga, integrating, collaborating, volunteering, laughing, directing, healing.
Some comments from the circle that stayed with me:
I’m learning to accept support.
My daughter in my mirror. I want to be present and engaged.
I want to have more dance parties with my son.
I want to know it feels like to see myself as beautiful.
If I start practicing self-care, I know it will trickle down to everyone else. I want to shift the culture at work.
I want to bring mindfulness, love and kindness to organizations-this should be a priority.
I’m writing a book dedicated to women that suffer.
My hands have touched so many women at critical moments.
OWL Intensive has been a womb.
I want to heal myself.
I want to create a sexual healing center to help women tell their stories.
When you realize your power, you are dangerous.
People feel safe with how you are. When you change, they become afraid.
I am so vast that I contradict myself.
This video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LsFha77l3RY&feature=youtu.be (2.40 seconds for young girl dancing)
Together we dreamed of the worlds we wish to live in, we cried, we danced, we hugged, we hula hooped, ate ice-cream, played music, and believed in each other’s visions.
I learned to lead from my vision, not my agenda. I learned that even in a world where bios and profiles are easily accessible, it’s better not to know superficial details for authentic connections to thrive. I learned the difference between being at home and feeling at home in your body. I arrived depleted and feeling undeserving and left with ideas and energy that helped me take big steps including starting coaching people through transitions, fundraising and social media consulting, and beginning a clinical social work masters program. One of the most exciting “takeaways” was meeting other women who shared similar visions who I could collaborate with in the years to come.
Since the intensive in 2013, I think of this sacred circle often and draw strength from their inspiring lives and ongoing encouragement. Since the Intensive, I’ve seen many of these women, in their homes, planning conferences, presenting their visions to the world, and they are truly memories I cherish. I look forward to many many more!
This holiday, I danced with my mother on the beach beneath the moonlight. With live steel pan drumming, I let go of the self-consciousness that contains me day in and day out. I mirrored my mother and she mirrored me. In that moment, I felt wild and free. After, we walked onto the dock where a young Trinidadian couple were sharing a romantic evening. The man commented that his date was admiring us dancing out there. I left hysterically, unable to believe someone would admire our ridiculous dance moves. I realized it wasn’t our dancing she admired, it was our courage to dance. I wish courage for every being out there–to dance their bliss, sing their song, and feel wild, free, and at home in their body.
*Photo Credit to the magnificent Julie Gelfand