Gendered Language, Spirituality & Female Exclusion

Guest Post for The Revelation Project by Kathleen Schwab.


I began to experience God as a young teenager, not long after my 14th birthday. I don’t want to go into that story here, but I’ll just say that the experience was so powerful and visceral that my whole life changed shape. It wasn’t just me in my life anymore, it was me and God. So I started going to church, because that’s where people go to be close to God. The idea that being female would automatically shunt me to second class status didn’t occur to me: I would find that out over the next decade. Our whole culture uses language to exclude women, but in my experience exclusion in spirituality packs a particularly painful punch, because it strikes at the deepest part of us, the intuitive center that helps us find our way through a dark world, that feeds and sustains us when nothing else can, that part of us that connects to God.

Language is a powerful tool in this exclusion. Words shape how we understand the world. Freud said that people who cannot name an emotion cannot fully experience that emotion. We’ve all had the experience of struggling to put something into words, and then feeling the relief of finally being able to express it, even if only to ourselves. If you can’t put something into words, you don’t own it; you can’t inhabit it with confidence. 

Language is a powerful tool in this exclusion. Words shape how we understand the world.

When I first experienced God, I didn’t know language could be used to push me out, but I learned. When I was 16, the chaplain of my high school mentioned that I might like to take a look at some of the old church classics, and he pulled The Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis down from his shelf. It is a 15th century text, which gave my suburban teenage self a bit of pause. Would I be able to make sense of a writer from five centuries ago? But, opening the book, I fell directly into the universality of experiencing God, and the sense that living a life devoted to Jesus crossed all barriers of time, culture, and place. This monk from 500 years ago was just like me, all people everywhere had something within them of a common pattern, the Kingdom of Heaven within that Jesus talked about.

And then. And then I hit Thomas a Kempis’ warnings that if a Christian was serious about the spiritual life, better to stay aloof from women. I realized that this book was not written for me, but for male Christians, as though they were the only Christians. A physical pang went through me. I not only didn’t count as a Christian, I was a danger to Christians, just by being myself, a girl. Somehow, I was no longer in the warm center of a communal spiritual experience, I was the enemy outside the gates, the one who undermines. 

At the time, I just put it aside and went on. I saw over time that male Christians didn’t exclude women on purpose; they simply didn’t think about us. In any mixed gender group men’s perspectives and experiences were “general interest,” and women’s perspectives and experiences were “women’s,” and therefore didn’t get group time. 

The fact that this is an unconscious bias was demonstrated by a Christian musician playing a concert at my women’s college one year. All the music was written by himself, and by the second song he stopped and spoke to the sea of female faces looking back at him, “You know, I never realized how male my lyrics are.” He stumbled through the rest of his set, every song describing Christians as strong men and brothers, every pronoun male, and every expectation masculine. He had clearly never even noticed this about his music before. Ripples of laughter went through the audience as he began, towards the end of the performance, to self-consciously try to make his lyrics more gender neutral. 

That happened back in the 80s, but I’ve wondered about him since. Before performing, he came to my dorm, where the Christian fellowship had set up a meet and greet for students and the performers. He was a gregarious fellow, married with several small children, and he was perfectly at ease in this women’s college, in a room full of women. Any church setting is at least half women, usually more than half. We are the majority, but to him we were invisible. In his songs, which I think simply express his view of the world, Christianity was for men, and female experience was a side issue that didn’t concern him. “I never realized how male my lyrics are.” I wonder if his perspective changed after that experience, if he began to look out at audiences and see the women as people, just as much as the men. I wonder if it changed how he saw the world.

I’ve just given an example of a man not seeing female experience, but I think women have also been trained out of seeing our lives and experiences. We don’t have the words either, because our culture tells stories from a masculine perspective, and all of us shape our stories around the larger voice of our culture. 

Even a woman writer with decades of experience can struggle. This is Ursula LeGuin in an introduction to a recent edition of her EarthSea novels:

“Why was I, a woman, writing almost entirely about what men did? Why, because I was a reader who read, loved, and learned from the books my culture provided me; and they were almost entirely about what men did…. I knew what men did, in books, and how to write about them. But when it came to what women did, or how to write about it, all I had to write about was my own experiences – uncertified, unapproved by the great consensus of criticism, lacking the imprimatur of the Canon of Literature, piping solo against the universally dominant and almost unison chorus of the voices of men talking about men.”  

At 51 years old, I feel like I am just beginning to find my rhythm talking about spiritual ideas authentically, from my own experience, from my body, from my life. I’ve finally stopped editing out anything that sounds too feminine, for fear it will be relegated to some kind of ‘special interest’ area, as if being a woman is as rare as being born with albinism. When I saw an article about a Calculus teacher who uses knitting to explain complex math ideas, spiritual parallels immediately jumped to mind; this time, instead of keeping my thoughts to myself because knitting is for girls, I wrote my ideas on my FB page Messages from God. The post ended up very popular. I don’t think people responded because it was about knitting per se, but because I was writing from wholeness, and not editing myself. In the coming decades, this is my goal: to be fully myself

The Enigma project, which broke the Nazi's secret code, was made up mostly of women, since so many men were soldiers. How did these women manage the advanced math needed for code breaking? Have you ever looked at a sweater pattern? You would think it was some sort of computer programming or an alien language - but in the WW2 generation, girls, moms, and grannies deciphered those patterns together over cups of tea, cheerfully turning out tiny perfect baby outfits, and Christmas sweaters with mind-boggling cables. They thought they were just making a nice holiday, knitting up a pair of argyles to make a boyfriend smile, but they were preparing to defeat Hitler. It's a story of the meek inheriting the Earth, as epic as the story of two humble hobbits traveling to Mordor because they are the only ones who can destroy the ring.

Whoever you are, and whatever large or small things you have done in life, you are capable of more than you know. God uses all our days to prepare us for the coming Kingdom, and to build the great Kingdom we all carry within us.



Kathleen Schwab is a lifelong lover of God, a literature teacher, and a wife and mother. Together with her book partner Therese Kay, she is the author of Messages from God: An Illuminated Devotional, a five week devotional inspired by the synergy of words and art in medieval illuminated manuscripts.

Link to my book Messages from God: An Illuminated Devotional here.

Link to the Messages from God Facebook page here.

The Sound Of Feminine Heartbreak

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What do you do when your own country breaks your heart and the sound of it happening to your other half is deafening? When your leaders and representatives repeatedly fail to live up to the aspirations of it’s citizens with the most modest of requests, such as decency, safety and honesty?

What we are witnessing right now through the response to Kavanaugh  is a large-scale dismissal of the feminine reality.  It’s a mass trauma perpetrated by leaders who would tell women in their most painful of moments that it’s actually men who are the real victims here (also known as gaslighting).

I can't imagine that any one of us isn't feeling the hot sting of what's happening here. If you are part of our community then I'll assume that you are deeply activated on some level and If not then I’m sorry you’ve had to go numb.

Since The Revelation Project was founded almost 9 years ago, Ive witnessed a massive shift, especially in the last year. Women have gradually and sometimes painfully awakened, and courageously mobilized to call out the toxicity of our failing culture. Many of us have gravitated towards programs, movements and forums to help us make sense of this deeply disturbing time.
I have had deep gratitude for the comfort and grace of our growing community on facebook and other social platforms, as well as the many of you who have actively supported our mission and been involved in our online programs, personal workshops and retreats.

To be clear, this movement  isn’t  about hating men. We don't rage at our men, but at the system that man created at the exclusion of women that keeps women from knowing the same respect, opportunity and representation. It's an unjust and unfair system that serves no one.

Throughout my feminist studies in University, I never imagined that I would be alive to witness a period that holds such significance, hope, and importance for women and minorities. While my heart is deeply saddened by the current turn of events, I'm also hopeful, because If the The Revelation Project has taught me anything, it's taught me that what is revealed, is eventually healed.  

I know that on the surface, almost nothing is what it seems. I believe that there are forces of love at play, despite the vitriol of hate on display that there must be a universal moxy that’s been working to reveal the ugly places where our planet and people are in desperate need of healing.

I choose to look at this time in America as a disguised gift, otherwise we might have continued on this way,  largely unconscious to the horrendous frequency and scale of violence and aggression that continues to live in the shadows while undermining our progress as conscious and thoughtful citizens. While we have not yet seen the tides change for the better, what we have witnessed, is what needs to change for the better. 

By challenging today’s existing harmful narrative, we can begin to use our own voices to narrate a new vision for our collective future. In other words, this is hardly where our story ends. This is, in fact, just the beginning. 

Life is a journey of consciousness where awareness and action are intertwined. Each new mystery or challenge that presents itself is driving us toward new revelations that will inform our future. There is not just one answer, but usually several that weave together to inspire and empower us, bring clarity, and help us to facilitate healing.

Therefore, we can’t give up. There is always another layer of healing that we need in order to move forward. When we are stuck or stopped, it’s not a sign for us to quit or give up, but actually a call to dive more deeply under the surface to get curious about who we are becoming. It's also a whisper to lean in, and notice where our sisters are hurting and hold each other as we process our pain and to sit with each other in the invitation of it’s infinite wisdom.

For now, sitting with the pain and sharing our feminine stories with one another is the wisest and best thing we can do. When we do rise to  begin again, we do so with a mended heart and the crystal clear eyes of women who see a new possibility for a better tomorrow. 

With love and hope,

Monica Rodgers

Please reach out if you need an ear to listen, or you want to write a story to share on our blog. Please also check out our upcoming retreat, which is right on point for this moment in time.
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The Dark Room

Today I was reading an interview about an artist/photographer who wants to give herself more time to explore her creativity. She said she has a darkroom in her basement where she has much unfinished business.

I found it to be an apt metaphor. We can all benefit from more time in the dark room.


So why don’t we?

Developing and processing takes some work, but it’s worth it. It never seems to be the right time and it can be scary, but in hindsight its always the perfect timing and not nearly as scary as we thought. We don’t know what the negatives are going to turn into, but you guys, that’s where the magic happens. That’s where the picture becomes clear and we get a chance to choose what we want to keep and what we want to discard.

The negative exposures are the ones that are prompting us to go into the darkroom and look more closely; calling us into the space and time for self-development and urging us to explore the things that frighten us.

I’ve never entered the darkroom and been sorry I did. There’s always something there for me to reveal or heal, and while I’m there,
I usually always discover something new, I didn’t know. I always re-enter the world renewed and feeling more inspired and in touch with my creativity.

Paradoxically, I’ve only ever found the light by daring to go into the dark.

For more exposure, join us this October for our women’s retreat in Kennebunk Maine. We’ve still got spaces available, and would love to have you join us. No past experience with TRP is necessary. Just jump in and prepare to reveal the love, light and creativity thats wanting to shine within you.

The Stories We Live By

From the time we are born until the time we cross over we begin to construct our personal narrative. Between these two points a multitude of stories are created. Some are memorable, and so we tell them over and over again and others are just remnants of our day to day lives.

Ben Okri, the Nigerian poet and novelist, says

“The fact of storytelling hints at a fundamental human unease, hints at human imperfection. Where there is perfection there is no story to tell.” 

In other words, the imperfect human story helps us feel less alone and has the power to cure a number of ailments stemming from unresolved pain, isolation, and fear. 

Story telling has the power to connect, inform and inspire us.
It also has the power to separate, isolate and refract us.

Story telling at it’s best, gives us insight into the transformative and ascending powers of the human spirit. At their worst, they distort our perceptions of one another, undermine our capacity for greatness, and keep us small and voiceless.

Stories are everywhere. In the media, in the gossip we choose to share with our “friends”, in the books we keep on our shelves at home, and in the memories of our hearts where we’ve been imprinted upon. Sometimes we are not aware of how our stories were collected or why these particular stories took on such significance in our lives.

At any given time, we are narrating a story within ourselves or consuming a story outside of ourselves. We use our own interpretations to make meaning and substance of our lives.

Regardless of if we are aware of our tendency to collect and tell stories, it’s the unconscious or unrevealed stories we live by that can dictate much of how we live our day to day lives, present ourselves to the outside world, and hold unhelpful beliefs about our capability, character, and potential.

How we interpret stories and the meaning we give them can alter how we behave, love, parent, and lead.

Would you be curious to know how how much more joy and peace you could experience by revealing the stories lingering below the surface of your awareness?

Would you enjoy exploring new life tools for discernment with the potential for extreme belly laughter with a like-minded group of women who want to reveal more?

I hope you’ll consider joining us!


Join The Revelation Project this October, as we explore the fascinating world of storytelling, interpretation, and the difference between personal truth and the stories we tell that no longer serve us. Enjoy a weekend designed to bring a new lens to the life you perceive and that reveals the inner essence of your one true voice and the story you want to be living.

Learn how to expose the lies, bust the myths, and re-author a story for a life that’s worth living.

It’s time we re-imagine a world where we can celebrate the heroine within us, and create an adventure filled with inspiration, purpose and possibility.

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This retreat is open to 16 total, and we have just eight spots left!

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A Fully Permission-ed Life

I coach people who are wanting to live a FPL, “Fully Permission-ed Life” in expression, relationship, creativity, career, and BEING!

This is a messy business to say the least.  But, not as messy as when I was a child, always trying to please everyone (8 siblings, 2 sets of parents) on top of being a chronic apologizer.  It was exhausting to be on high alert trying to meet everyone where they were, and ignoring my inner soul voice. Today, I no longer deny my Self a "FPL", except for when I do.

These last several days have been challenging my “FPL”.  It’s humbling, and it is kicking my ass.

How do I give my Self full permission when I am searching for a good enough excuse, a concrete explanation, or a defense around the reason for not being able to show up.  I find myself “sorry-ing” my kids, business partners, and friends. Where is my permission without the excuses, guilt, the should’s, the shame, and the stress?


I have to dig a little deeper, and wrestle with what I know to be true. I need to notice when I’m defending my life, instead of living from my personal truth, and stop allowing others to define me. Yup, it’s a very messy inside job. I have to dig deep into the sludge of should’s and defensive living, as I rummage around my soul for the well buried truth, weeding out the excuses, yeah but’s, and shame.  Digging deeper still, through the hot mess of personal with-holding, to finally reach the decaying Fully Permission-ed Self.  There She is, hiding in a tight corner of my Being. I recognize the faint flicker, reminding me of the fire fly that caught my sleepy eyes just last night, when I looked out my bathroom window.  This is when I heard my soul voice whisper, “Wake the fuck up, Girl!” I feel that something give, and my FPL is ignited, and my truth sayer is choosing, “NO not today."  I breathe in my reckoning; the punishing banter that delivered my own damn truth. It isn’t someone else’s truth, it is all mine.  I get to be exhausted, spent, confused, unhappy, nitty, and beaten down by the world for a few days.

She’s back, a Fully Permission-ed Glorious Mess! The magic that arrived at the end of this day's reckoning was a note I received in the mail from my niece, and it read, "darling, a beautiful thing is never perfect."


Revealing: Where The Wild Things Are


I've been on an odyssey of self discovery lately.  Some parts of the journey have been beautiful and enlightening, and some have been equal parts messy and terrifying. 

Here's what I'm learning: 

Abandonment is a huge trigger for me. 

It runs so deep you guys. 

Are we all afraid of being left behind? 

Also, I've learned that feeling unseen, unheard, or misunderstood makes me intensely angry, even to the point of rage.  

Rage scares me. 

Rage has always been a place I've avoided because it seems so WHITE HOT and... 


But it can also be transformative. 

That is if you allow yourself to get curious about what's beneath...

Rage (often called fury or frenzy) is a feeling of intense, violent, or growing anger. It is sometimes associated with the fight-or-flight response, and is often activated in response to being in the presence of a threat. The phrase “thrown into a fit of rage” expresses the immediate nature of rage that occurs from extended exposure to a threat. If left unchecked, rage may lead to violence against the threat.

and then later...

Cases in which rage is exhibited may directly be related to cognitive dissonance in relation to an individual’s ability to manage the terror associated with death and dying..

Ahh... cognitive dissonance,  terror of death and dying. There it is.  

Recently we experienced a health scare in my home, and while everyone is ok, and it ended by being the best case scenario for an outcome, it still sent me whirling down a dark and ugly rabbit hole where my monsters live.

I found myself going through this strange cycle as I processed. 

First I was calm and concerned about the person I love.  Then, grateful.

"WHEW, that was a close one!" 

and then, "We have so much to be thankful for.."

A day later, I'm feeling a bit anxious and withdrawn, then I noticed that I was in fight or flight. 

"What the heck? How could we not have seen that coming, and what if it was worse, and..... ?"

Then the rage visited me, like a tsunami, and suddenly the person I love the most , who just narrowly escaped something that could have been horrible, was suddenly the object of my rage. 

Where was it coming from? 

Why was I so angry? 


I remember them well.  They lived in my bedroom at night and started to visit me when my life became confusing and scary. 

I recall that they were linked to all the thoughts I had about myself, the things that were happening to me, and when I considered losing or disappointing the people I loved most in all the world. 

The monsters became the faces of each new fear and before long, there were too many to count. 

After hysterically waking my parents night after night, my fight or flight fully activated, they became exhausted. Their way of finally dealing with it, was to lock their bedroom door.

I'll never forget the night I ran through the dark hallway like a bolt of lightening, only to splat flatly against their unyielding door while scrambling frantically to turn the uncompromising knob. I could hear my dad state firmly from behind the door; 



and then I knew for sure.. 

No one is coming for me. 

No one would save me. 

No one would hear my cries.

This must have gone on for quite some time because I recall developing coping strategies.

For example I had a strict policy for using the loo after dark. I would carefully adhere to this protocol as a prudent matter of safety.  If I had to pee at an ungodly hour, then I had to L-E-A-P from the bed to as close to the bathroom door as possible because then I could simply step on the tile because monsters can't work with tile, they dissolve instantly. My brother told me. 

I shudder to think what would have happened had I not known this critical fact.

IF, and only IF,  I managed to attend to my business without incident, I would then have to make the trek back. Obviously, I would need a running start to L-E-A-P back into the bed and burrow myself under the covers as quickly as possible, and then I would need to squeeze my eyes shut immediately while saying three times:

You can not see me, I am invisible. 
You can not see me, I am invisible.
You can not see me, I am invisible. 

It was a process to be sure.

As time went on, the monsters escalated, and seemed more threatening then ever, and no matter what I would do to try to sleep at night, they would bump and thump and grind their teeth and smack their lips, making terrifying and disgusting sounds. The circles under my eyes resembled the bruises on the bananas I peeled for my morning cereal, and Miss. Borrowski sent a note home to my parents to let them know that I had been falling asleep in class.

My mother tutted at me, and my father scowled as he folded the pink paper, referring to my night terrors as "utter nonsense". 

I became desperate to do something about it and knew that I needed to employ a bold new strategy. I found it quite by accident that night while lying in bed as a deep smoldering shame began to arise while thinking about my parents disappointment in me. 

I was tired of this. I was being a stupid baby! I was dumb for letting this keep me up at night and an idiot for letting everyone see how scared I was. 

This was going to stop. 

I sat up with gritted teeth and hissed my ferociousness to the monsters who lurked in the darkness of my room. 




I knew then, that I needed to show them that I meant it, so from then on, I walked deliberately to the bathroom completely disregarding the rules of engagement they had forced me to create. 


I snarled at them over my shoulder: 


My heart would beat it's loud whooshing in my ears while I feigned boredom at them so as not to arouse suspicion. 

Never let them see you sweat. 

This anger tactic seemed far more effective in controlling my monsters, and eventually I would fall asleep believing that I had created a fortress of powerful explosive energy around myself. 

The Wisdom here
is that YOU have to be more ferocious
than the MONSTERS themselves,
to make them stop. 

Fast forward, and after my fit of rage the other day, it occurred to me that all these years later, I've been employing the same strategy.  

When I feel betrayed, invalidated, locked out, terrified, ... I lean into rage as a way of coping with my deep fear of being abandoned, left alone, or feeling inadequate. 

In some ways, the health event provoked the perfect storm of opportunity to go deeper into My Revelation Project, to see my reaction more clearly.

Anger and rage has become the mask I wear for the situations that terrify me or threaten my feelings of safety.  Unconsciously,  I've been baring my teeth to the darkness, to keep the monsters away. Except that I'm not a child anymore,  and these rituals of self preservation no longer serve, they only keep me from the truth of what's really happening: there are things I can't control, and this is scary.

These days, my monsters, while still hidden in the shadows, seem less threatening overall. That is, until I'm triggered by some deep, unconscious fear that's still rooted in my past.  The confusion comes from having to reach back through all those layers to reveal the true source of my upset.

It's surprising to me that there in the center of all of the swirling confusion, rage, & chaos is a very frightened and vulnerable little girl, standing barefoot, in a cotton nightgown, right where I left her.


We don't realize the moments we toss our own selves out of the garden of belonging to ourselves, but we do it.  Usually based on an experience that brings us shame, or a sense of powerlessness.  We begin to loath ourselves for not being strong, brave, smart, worthy or lovable enough. We think we are deserving of our alone-ness. 

No one is coming for me. 

No one will save me. 

No one will hear my cries. 

Everyone gives lip service to this concept of "The Wounded Child", and I get it, but it's hard for me to see my own, and how entrenched she is in some of my less then stellar adult behavior.  

In this moment, however, I can see her so clearly:

She's lonely, confused and going through some big things. She's keeping secrets and and she's just not capable of putting language around what's happening. She's lost her sense of security and belonging, and she's utterly terrified. She's abandoning her true self for a mask that will hide the inadequate pieces of herself so that she can endure. 

As I sit here, I can taste the salt of my tears as I realize how separate I've needed to be from her pain in order to survive to this point.  I can see her standing there alone, so small, so innocent. 

From this vantage point, as an adult woman, I think of my own daughter at that age and so easily my instincts kick into gear ( it's so much easier to rescue everyone but ourselves!) 

Suddenly I'm running toward her as fast as my legs will carry me. 

"WAIT,  You are not alone... I'M HERE!"

My life seems like a hologram in these moments.  This is vaguely familiar, over the years, collecting the parts of myself I've left behind, betrayed, or disowned along the way. I've learned that these parts of our disembodied selves never stop calling out to us to bring them home. I just don't think I've known this version of my child-self, the one who uses rage to keep anyone from seeing her fear.

I allow a vision to surface:

My strong, courageous, kick-ass, grown-up woman-self is here now, and I can see that she's cradling the small scared version of my child-self in her arms.  As I pull her to me, I whisper the words she's been needing to hear from me all these years, and as I do, I release her from her prison of shame and isolation:




Then I tell her that she's not alone anymore.



Truth is the Birthplace of Self Love

My first indicator that I have a hard truth to tell happens in my chest. 

It starts getting tight, and uncomfortable, and starts creeping toward my throat making it constricted and hard to breathe.

I use the tightness in my chest as an indicator along with a simple metaphor to locate myself because it’s easy to get lost in fear when I feel it happening. 

An example would be when someone I care about is projecting something upon me that I’m not in agreement with, or who tells me something about how I am, or how I am feeling or “should” be feeling, when I’m not that way or feeling that way at all.  In other words, it’s not my truth.

Speaking the truth can be risky because it separates us from being in agreement with what’s true for everyone else, and it’s ok for our own truth to be different from everyone else’s.  In fact, it’s our birthright. 


Our survival instinct kicks in to belong and to be loved and accepted. It's so strong in us, that it will often have us sacrifice or side step our own truth to preserve harmony, but we do so at the cost of our own freedom and autonomy.

So back to the chest getting tight;

Right before I’m about to tell a hard truth I think about a metaphor I call "The Swimming Pool" because it helps me get my bearings. My chest tells me that it’s time to get out of the deep end of the pool where I’ve been swimming, and go back to the shallow end where I can find a place to stand and feel my footing beneath me.

I imagine that I’m standing there, just up to my shin’s in the pool, all vulnerable in my bathing suit (no hiding that shit) exposed, but also stable.  There is no need to tread water in the shallow end, and there is plenty of air when you don’t have to work so hard to stay afloat.  This is the place I imagine taking a deep breath before moving back into some deeper water to do the work.

Just like when I was a child, I imagine looking to see where the sun is located in the sky above me. That way I know which direction the light is in, so that when I go under and while I’m below the surface, where it’s hard to breathe, I can still locate it’s presence.  It’s a trick I play on myself to orient myself before I go to the truth telling place.

It helps me.

The Truth Place

If we are raised to do the proper thing, the right thing, the "good" thing, and told to be a certain way, we are often cut off from our own truth. It happens endlessly from the time we are children.

I’ve noticed that by the time we enter adulthood, few of us know how to hear our true voice anymore. It’s can be hard to locate where the truth is when it sounds like everyone else’s voice but your own, but if you pay attention and listen for it, you’ll start to hear it’s hum.

The truth place can be a messy place when you begin,  but it’s also a birth place.  Thinking back to my pregnancy, and the delivery of my first child, I imagine nothing can be more messy and brutal than that, and then, there she was, in her "true form", and her beauty was blinding. 

That's what truth does. 

It makes us beautiful.

Truth can be be painful, chaotic, ugly, upsetting, and unbearably messy…and then beautiful.

The expression:

"The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off".

True that.

Why do we expect that life’s truth is any less messy than our own?  Why do any of us believe that we can just skim along the surface of our lives always making it pretty, without the brutiful parts?  

I’m thinking of what we are requested to oath before a lawful hearing that’s dependent at times on life or death:

"I vow to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help me God."

Yesss. Help me GOD to tell this hard truth I have to tell because otherwise,  I die a little more inside each time I deny it.

Please stay close with me as I tell this hard truth because I am so afraid that when I say it out loud, that I will risk belonging and love.

And God, Please be my witness as I go back into the deep water to do my work, and help me tread the waters and weather this storm without forsaking myself. 

Please be the constant sunlight through the darkness to greet me after I dive deep and come back to break the surface, reborn in my own true and radiant self. 



The Trance of Captivity: How Women Unknowingly Internalize & Perpetuate Misogyny

OK Ladies, listen up. 

In full transparency, I'm feeling frustrated so I'm sitting down to type it out so that I can access some freedom for myself around this topic.  I have this way of becoming so impatient when I see something at play that no one seems to be talking about, and in this case it's around the unconscious way women tend to treat themselves (horribly) and other women (not so great either). 

My frustrations come from what I'll call "the trance of captivity" and how this plays out for us as women who have been raised inside of the patriarchal culture, and don't even really know what that means or how it impacts us in the world, but before I launch in...

Can we agree that Elephants are pretty powerful creatures?

They are, right?
They weigh in at around 24,000 pounds, and can stand as high as about thirteen feet.

Blog Post : The Trace Of Captivity How Women Unknowingly Internalize and Perpetuate Misogyny and Sexism.

Blog Post : The Trace Of Captivity How Women Unknowingly Internalize and Perpetuate Misogyny and Sexism.

Their trunks are agile enough to pick up a single blade of grass, and strong enough to rip branches from tree's or uproot one if so compelled. 

Despite their enormous power, elephants can be chained in captivity. But how is that possible?  What chain is strong enough to "captivate" an elephant? 

You have to start conditioning early, from babyhood. 

The baby elephant will struggle, but eventually it will realize that it can’t break the chain, so it learns not to struggle. It accepts that the limit imposed by the rope or chain is permanent, and that there is no use struggling against it.

There is an elephant inside each of us – as women, we posses enormous intelligence, capability and power. Just like the elephants in captivity, we don't realize our power to break the chains. 

How does this happen?

When women are born into Patriarchal society, from a very young age, they are conditioned to believe in the limitations and messages that get passed to them from society from a very young age (these are chains, by the way).

Girls and women, boys and men hear the sexist messages (lies and stereotypes) about women over their entire lifetimes. They hear that women are weak, emotional, passive, manipulative, with little capacity for intellectual pursuits or leadership. They are fed messages that compare their worth to impossible and insignificant ideals of weight, beauty, motherhood, professionals, and are told through thousands of tiny paper cuts, that they must fit inside a certain role or ideal to be acceptable or worthy as women (myth, bullshit, just NO).

Internalized sexism is defined as the involuntary belief by girls and women that the lies, stereotypes and myths about girls and women ARE TRUE.  Internalized misogyny is women themselves doubting, disliking, and disqualifying other women from their pursuits, or undermining their abilities because they are not aware of their own negative attitudes about women (themselves) or where they come from. 

There are two logical, predictable consequences of a lifetime of such messages 

  1. Boys / men will grow to believe many of the messages, and treat women accordingly. They will be thoroughly indoctrinated into their role in sexism, protecting their male privilege by colluding with the perpetuation of sexism.
  2. The same messages also stick to girls and women, resulting in internalized sexism / internalized misogyny. Women and girls are taught to act out the lies and stereotypes, doubting themselves and other females (AKA: horizontal hostility) This is the way women collude with the perpetuation of sexism and misogyny. 

An example of what internal misogyny looks like in a way most women might be able to relate: 

Photo from Your Story is Your Power: Free your Feminine Voice by elle luna &susue herrick

Photo from Your Story is Your Power: Free your Feminine Voice by elle luna &susue herrick

For our sexist system to be maintained and passed on to the next generation, we all must believe the messages (lies and stereotypes) to some degree, and collude with it by performing our assigned roles.

Most human services or social change organizations or even progressive companies who are all about making a difference in this area recognize that their mission cannot be completely fulfilled until all forms of oppression (racism, sexism, heterosexism, classism, anti-semitism...) are addressed, HOWEVER, many of these same organizations do not recognize the forms of internalized oppression that interfere with accomplishing their missions because so much of the behavior is ingrained and unconscious by the very women who "support" their mission. 

Women’s organizations, in particular, have to become aware and take conscious action to recognize, acknowledge and interrupt internalized misogyny and sexism as it affects individual women as well as the organization as a whole.

We all need to start ZOOMING OUT and looking at ourselves through the lens of the observer, paying careful attention to the "story within the story" of where we are as a society and how we got here. As women, we need to encourage other women to recognize and examine the harmful impact of a lifetime of sexist messages and how they have shaped their own self image, as well as their attitudes toward other women. 

The impact of exploring and revealing your own hidden attitudes about women,  is the first step in noticing the trance of captivity and breaking it (there is no chain holding you, you powerful, beautiful beast!).

As women, we are in the trance of believing that women (ourselves) are not enough and we continue to seek approval from others instead of offering it to ourselves.   The very first thing we need to do is affirm ourselves and each other as capable, deserving and equal. 

Only then can we challenge internalized sexism and misogyny in our own lives, the lives of our children, and in our pursuit of a fair and equal society for all human beings. 

Please hit "like" below and share this with your people if you feel so inclined, and as always, THANK YOU, for witnessing me, I'm so proud of every one of you who is up to the task of revealing more... 

Exploring Potential Over 50+ Years Old

At what point in our lives do we take the foot off the gas and say...

"That's it, I'm too old, weak, fat, tired.."

When do we put the breaks on and stop exploring our potential, or trade in our dreams, or goals for a routine day with nothing much happening.  

I don't want to ever stop exploring my potential. I never want to stop growing and becoming, because each year I get better, wiser, stronger, more in tuned with my dreams and more inspired by my potential.  

There is no end to our potential.  That's a myth. 

Keep believing, keep dreaming, keep growing. 

Life is a revelation. 

Just click on the little You Tube logo below this video and it will take you to the site to play...

What If The Pain Never Ends?

Lately, I've been coping with more pain than usual and trying in vain to find some relief.  I've noticed that by the early afternoon, I'm exhausted, tight lipped and short.  My only escape from it has been to sleep.  

My Dad, the original cynic, used to tell me that:

"Moniker, pain builds character, ... for more pain."

If I am left to interpret his prophetic statement, then I'll assume he means that it's a given, like paying taxes and breathing, it's part of life.  As pain continues to have it's way with my psyche, the fear burrows into my dreams. In middle of the night, last night, I recall sitting up and asking Austin in a panic..

What if the pain never ends? 

oh, my Dad would have a good laugh at that one, deeming it rhetorical, no doubt. This morning I considered canceling my appointment with my coach, Jessica, because I knew "pain" would end up being a topic, because, that's how we roll. 

I discovered that exploring pain is even more painful then the pain itself, but it's also productive in providing relief.

Some ground we covered: 


Being with pain: What is that like for me? 

  • Sometimes it feels too big for me to handle or hold.
  • It makes me feel powerless, trapped and imprisoned. 

What does this feeling of prison bring up for me?

  • It makes me think about my life and having come so far in terms of being free from some pretty heinous emotional pain, only to now be plagued with physical pain. WTF is THAT all about? 
  • Feeling like a pain free life is always somehow just out of reach for me.  (Just you Monica!  everyone else has a pain free life!)
  • Feeling like the self-compassion well is dried up, or like the last drop of self- compassion essential oil has been used up, it's essence, GONE. 

If pain had some geography what would it be? 

  • A Wall. 
  • I just come to a place where there is a wall of pain.
  • There's just me against the wall and I'm so tired of coming up against "the wall".

What else? 

  • The pain makes makes me ashamed, it makes me needy, and I fear being seen as if I'm somehow broken and useless.
  • That this pain is being "done to me" or perhaps I choose the pain in another life (lol- because that's the sick twisted thinking you can count on me for!).

What would pain be if it were something to practice being with? 

  • Patience. Oh how I hate you. 
  • Patience can be a useful practice when one is healing. 

What can "be" in the meantime? 

  • Rest
  • It's ok to rest when I can't do anything else. 
  • It's ok to be tired of the pain.
  • It's ok to be pissed off about it. 
  • It's ok to to be afraid.

Still in pain with no resolutions, and yet somehow, I'm feeling way better than I was. 

MASKS : Are You Wearing One?

Authenticity and transparency are buzzwords in the Coaching Industry, Corporate America, and Political culture. And, there is no doubt there is tremendous value in honing the skill of showing up "real".  But- it's not always that easy.

As human beings we learn at a very young age how to morph into what ever will serve us, protect us, give us more attention, make us more seen or less, make us more likable, lovable, valuable, cool, smart, attractive, acceptable, and enough. We are trained in our formative years to work at “fitting in”. This is when we begin to build our repertoire of personalized masks. Growing up I had slew of them. I had the giggle mask, happy mask, fearless mask, capable mask. As I grew older I added the apology mask, daring mask, I got it all handled mask (a step up from the capable mask).  I had a plethora of masks to choose from and they served me well, until they didn’t. I found myself feeling hollowed out, insignificant, which of course motivated me to create more masks, until my life hit a wall and I was smacked down by my own in-authenticity. My non-transparent, co-dependent nature had created so much exhaustion, and such a deep profound loneliness, that I was breaking out in hives and becoming physically ill. My marriage was the mask of all masks and I was suffocating under it, my Being was dying a slow death. This may sound dramatic but I kid you not, it is how I felt.  I had de-selfed, detached from who I was, so much so I couldn’t remember who I was. That is what happens when we use masks to show the world what we think it wants from us, instead of Being who we are. It is no wonder that often times I will have a client show up to a coaching session with the expression, “I don’t know what I’m feeling, or how I feel about that, or what I want.” It gets tricky to identify what feelings are authentic and what is a projected feeling from what we think the world wants from us. 

RP1G8995 copy.jpg

How do you choose to show up?

Are you wearing a mask or are you being transparent?

Are you using your authentic voice or saying what others want to hear…

The way to begin to identify if you are wearing a mask or being “real” is to notice if there is another conversation going on within your Self, while you are performing on the outside. Notice how you feel when the conversation is over, and what thoughts you are having about the exchange. It is that simple, it’s simply noticing where you are in your body. Are you feeling exhausted or energized is another indicator. Even a fierce conversation (Susan Scott, founder of FIERCE, can leave you feeling energized when you are authentic because you are speaking from your truth, instead of making up stuff that is in-authentic and has nothing to do with who you really are.

Ask your Self to step away from the mask, and dare to be you. Train the world to be in relationship with you, instead of the world training you to be someone else.


The capitalized words above are not an editing error.