1 quote and 3 (tiny) topics

The Quote:

Re-vision–the act of looking back, of seeing with fresh eyes, of entering an old text from a new, critical direction–is for women more than a chapter in cultural history: it is an act of survival. Until we can understand the assumptions in which we’re drenched we cannot know ourselves. And this drive to self-knowledge, for women, is more than a search for identity: it is part of our refusal of the self-destructiveness of male-dominated society. A radical critique…feminist in its impulse, would take the work first of all as a clue to how we live, how we have been living, how we have been led to imagine ourselves, how our language has trapped us as well as liberated us, how the very act of naming has been till now a male prerogative, and how we can begin to see and name–and therefore live–afresh…not to pass on a tradition but to break its hold over us. ~ Adrienne Rich

Topic #1: Internalized Patriarchy

Ooooh, how this has shown up within me lately. Places and ways in which I default to deeply-held beliefs (even though I no longer believe them) and values (even though I no longer value them) that continue to wield their power in my psyche and day-to-day life. Ick. Ick. Ick!

Here’s a quick example…

My book is scheduled for publication in Fall of 2023. (I know: champagne, confetti, all that!) I’ve struggled in celebrating. Why? Because I’m going a hybrid publishing route vs. traditional. And why would I have any ambivalence around this at all? Well, because of internalized patriarchy! Somewhere, despite my better judgment, I believe that being acknowledged and chosen by the powers-that-be actually matters. I want the value deferred upon me by those same powers-that-be. The potential cash-advance? Well, that validates my value even more, yes? Ick. Ick. Ick!

The internalisation of patriarchy is not a fault. Its unnecessary, unrealised legacy women are carrying. We don’t even realise when and how patriarchy has seeped into our identity so much that we hallucinate its compulsions as our choice. ~ Emila Dutta

I don’t like it! 

Here’s what I do like: 

Internalized patriarchy — when seen and named — has a definite upside: the places in which we feel the most resistance, the most confusion, and even the most shame (3 markers that signify patriarchy’s presence, to be sure) serve as powerful sources of discernment. The things we dislike and fight with/against the most are the very things that afford us opportunity to listen to and trust our own wisdom, to remember who we truly are, and to say “of course!” as we acknowledge our sovereignty and strength. 

Topic #2: Re-visioning and Assumptions

By way of review: 

Re-vision–the act of looking back, of seeing with fresh eyes, of entering an old text from a new, critical direction–is for women more than a chapter in cultural history: it is an act of survival.

Rich is right, of course: When WE look back, when WE see with fresh eyes, when WE enter an old text (which includes our own personal texts/stories) from a new, critical direction, we do more than just survive: we finally and exquisitely thrive! And not just us, but all women, all of humanity — past, present, and future!

Mmmmmmm. SO much here, yes? Yes.

But wait, there’s more!

Until we can understand the assumptions in which we’re drenched we cannot know ourselves.

“…the assumptions in which we’re drenched.” I love this phrase and it weighs so, so heavy on my heart. Her words describe, in so many ways, what I am always talking/writing about when it comes to the stories we’ve been told, the ones we tell ourselves, the culture in which we live, and so much more. Naming these is what I focus on with clients and strive to consistently name in my own life over and over again. It’s definitely what I reveal (and re-vision) in my book. And every bit of this, to Adrienne Rich’s point, is so that we can know ourselves. 

And that? Knowing ourselves? It matters more than all else, is sacred above all else, is worth more than all else. 

Topic #3: (Trapped and) Liberated by Language

Again, by way of review, the final sentences within Adrienne Rich’s quote:

And this drive to self-knowledge, for women, is more than a search for identity: it is part of our refusal of the self-destructiveness of male-dominated society. A radical critique…feminist in its impulse, would take the work first of all as a clue to how we live, how we have been living, how we have been led to imagine ourselves, how our language has trapped us as well as liberated us, how the very act of naming has been till now a male prerogative, and how we can begin to see and name–and therefore live–afresh…not to pass on a tradition but to break its hold over us.

When we re-vision, when we acknowledge the assumptions in which we’re drenched, we cannot help but see and name how language has both trapped us and liberated us. Too often, this happens through language that’s been spoken for us, around us, and about us. Stories. Roles. Assignments. Stereotypes. Value. Worth. These have defined us, shaped us, and yes, (mostly) trapped us. 

Adrienne Rich is not alone in naming this. Brené Brown speaks almost exclusively about it in her latest book, Atlas of the Heart:

If we want to find the way back to ourselves and one another, we need language and the grounded confidence to both tell our stories and to be stewards of the stories that we hear. This is the framework for meaningful connection.

The key is to make language our own, to claim its power and beauty, to take agency, and to move from being trapped by it to letting it be the source of our very liberation. Ultimately and paradoxically, the very things, experiences, even people that have oppressed or bound us, when named with language, are what enable our freedom.

  • When you honestly name and put language to the harm of your past, you can then step into freedom from it.
  • When you bravely name and put language to your fear, you can then experience a life that is freed from such.
  • When you fiercely name and put language to your truth, you can then begin to live in uncompromising, unedited, and freedom-suffused ways.

All easier said than done. All the work and journey of a lifetime. All deeply sacred.


So, to (finally) wrap things up…

  • internalized patriarchy is a real thing — which is why:
  • re-visioning matters.
  • understanding the assumptions in which we’re drenched matters.
  • naming how language has trapped us matters; letting it free us, even more!
  • doing every bit of this not alone makes all the difference.

All of this, on repeat and with constancy and dedication, is what can and will change the world. Needed now more than ever, yes? 

May it be so.

About hearing voices…

Yes, let’s talk about hearing voices…And (just a bit) about RAISING our voices and being countercultural! 

Over the past 8 months or so, I’ve been painstakingly recovering and republishing all my blog posts from 2004–2019. It’s a long story — why they left my website in the first place. And though some might argue the relevance of bringing them back at all, for me, they’re like an archive, a written history that documents much of my thought and certainly my growth for nearly 18 years.

As I been plodding away at this monumental task, I’ve noticed something: what I was talking about at the beginning and along the way is what I’m still talking about today. 

Yes, my writing has changed and strengthened. My viewpoints have expanded. My belief systems have pretty dramatically changed. And my life over those years? More transitions than I can possibly count! Still, in the midst — underneath it all — there are themes, patterns, questions, and a “voice” that has persisted throughout.

I’m seeing this literally in front of me, but I’m convinced I’m not unique.

If you could recall and recover where your mind has gone over the years, you would see the same: themes, patterns, and questions that have persisted, stayed, lingered. You would discover the “voice” that has been speaking to you all along — whether you’ve known, heard, or acknowledged it — or not. 

So let’s definitely talk about hearing voices!


I’ll certainly not get it completely right and there’s FAR more for me to hear and learn, but were I to take a stab at articulating what this “voice” has been saying to me all this time — yes, through the blog posts; but far, far more, it would sound something like this:

You are enough. You are not too much. You don’t have to work any harder to be good or worthy or understood. You are beautiful. You are strong. You are wise. You are loved.

[I’d bet money that the voice within you has been saying something incredibly similar. I’ll get to that in a few paragraphs.]

It’s what I’ve been writing about on my own behalf and yours — over and over and over again. Not always blatant, often hidden between the lines, but infinitely present, nonetheless — speaking, thrumming, singing, calling me home to myself.

Here’s the thing:

I have not been hearing this voice (or writing about it) for so long because it’s distinct, unique, or special to me. Not at all! As I look back, I can see that this deeper voice within has been attempting to express itself, to make itself manifest in my life, because it’s what is TRUE. 

Which is why I’m pretty sure it’s the same voice that you hear — that you’ve always heard in one way or another — that will never stop speaking within you.


The invitation now — for you and me both — is to let it speak, let it drive, let it lead, let its truth be undisputed, accepted, fiercely claimed, and fully trusted. No longer doubted. No longer whispering. No longer being shouted over. No longer silent. And certainly no longer unknown or unheard.

The invitation now — for you and me both — is to acknowledge what IS true, what’s always been true, and then live it.

Would another quick review help?

You are enough. You are not too much. You don’t have to work any harder to be good or worthy or understood. You are beautiful. You are strong. You are wise. You are loved.

You definitely don’t need 18 years of my blog posts to find and hear the “voice” for yourself. Weave together the threads of your life that reveal this TRUTH: where it has been whispering, crying, beating within, longing to be heard and trusted, shouting, and most-definitely showing up. YES, PLEASE! MORE, PLEASE!

As a woman, you live in a world that is adamantly committed to you NOT listening to this voice. not believing it as truth. Because, quite frankly, if you did start listening, believing, trusting, and living this truth truth (that IS already and always yours), everything would fall apart: patriarchy, capitalism, colonialism . . . Yes, please!

There’s still more that I hear the voice saying when I look back, look within, and pay attention. It’s for me, to be sure — and for you:

Now, rise up. Trust yourself. Go deeper. Let go. Listen closer still. 

Once we’ve heard what’s true, then we’re called to live it.

Rise up. Stand up. Speak up. Don’t hold back.

Trust yourself. Your intuition, your wisdom, that know-that-you-know-that-you-know voice within.

Go deeper. Into your own stories, into your questions and doubts, into the conversations that will invite the kind of transformation and life that you desire and deserve.

Let go. Surrender. Open your clenched fists. Loosen your grip on others, on expectations, on demands, on control, on your endless self-critique. Breathe deep.

Listen closer still. Drop below the surface of the raging river that is your mind and listen to your heart — the still waters underneath, the voice that’s always been there, the truth — period, the end.

And did I mention?
You are enough. You are not too much. You don’t have to work any harder to be good or worthy or understood. You are beautiful. You are strong. You are wise. You are loved.

Now, rise up. Trust yourself. Go deeper. Let go. Listen closer still.

About angels in black tights…and signs…

This post is about signs. Looking for them. Spotting them. Trusting them.

‘Seems right to start things off with a sign that showed up for me recently.

Just over my computer monitor — smack in front of me — is a print by Brian Andrea of StoryPeople. Here’s what it says:

I used to wait for a sign, she said, before I did anything. Then one night I had a dream & an angel in black tights came to me & said, You can start any time now. & then I said is this a sign? & the angel started laughing & I woke up. Now, I think the whole world is filled with signs, but if there’s no laughter, I know they’re not for me.

When I sit down to write — whether my weekly newsletter, a Medium article, or a blog post, I have spent days in advance. I decide on the topic. In this case, “signs.” I gather things: quotes, definitions, thoughts that flit through my mind, a story that comes to me. Then, at a set time on my calendar each week, I begin developing form, structure, and hopefully something meaningful and relevant for you! This post was no different: five days of “collecting” on my chosen topic before I sat down to compose.

And then, then, I saw the print. The one I quoted. The one that sits smack in front of me — just over my computer monitor — every day and all the time.

That felt like a sign in and of itself!

Signs are everywhere. But that doesn’t mean I always see them. Even — and maybe especially — when they are right in front of me.

How many times do we miss the signs that are ours to see, listen to, and learn from?

I don’t want to miss them. I want to walk through my days certain that signs are everywhere, mine to discover and cherish:

  • 12:34 on the clock
  • The flower growing in the crack on the sidewalk
  • The clouds
  • The sun
  • The book that came in the mail
  • The podcast episode I can’t get out of my head
  • The limp houseplants asking to be watered
  • The dust on the TV
  • An empty water glass
  • Cold coffee
  • Unread emails
  • The bill that came in the mail
  • The lump in my throat
  • The tears in my eyes
  • The catch in my voice
  • The dream I just recalled
  • The chocolate I crave
  • The shoes I still haven’t put back in the closet
  • The text from a friend
  • The to-do I keep procrastinating over
  • The print on my wall — smack in front of me

I could go on. Clearly.

What’s on your list? Your whole world is filled with signs. You deserve to keep track!! I’m sure of it. It’s said that signs often appear as confirmation of the things we are interested in, what we’re pondering, what we’re questioning or wondering about. Sort of like when you decide you want a red Mini Cooper and then you start seeing them everywhere.

Yes, we can read meaning into pretty much anything (a la my long list above). And I suppose it’s possible we can take it too far. But I’d rather lean in that direction than worry about it. Here’s why:

When we trust that “the whole world is filled with signs” that long to be seen and are speaking to us, we walk through our days with heightened curiosity, a profound sense of openness, and a general spirit of receptivity. Doesn’t that sound far more lovely than the alternative?

We have opportunity and invitation to walk through our days as though we are in the middle of a cosmic game of hide-and-seek. What might be possible with that level of anticipation and joy?

It feels important to name that signs can be hard things — not always surprising and pleasant; sometimes difficult and painful. Maybe more often than not.

An example:

Fear is one of the most significant (and consistent) signs of all; an invitation to profound and powerful discernment!

Fear is a sign that says our worry or anxiety or obsessing matters and deserves to be paid attention to. Fear is a sign that helps us know we’re on track and moving in the right direction (or it wouldn’t have shown up in the first place). Fear is a sign that calls us to courage and levels of self-trust we would otherwise not know, make manifest, or rely upon!

Other significant (and hard) signs include: resistance, procrastination, frustration, rage, sarcasm, despair, consumption and, and, and . . . It’s not about getting rid of these things, purging them somehow from your life. No! It’s about coming to see them as signs in and of themselves, as invitations to meaning and understanding, as opportunities to discern what is calling you deeper into your own life.

Whatever you feel, whatever your emotions, whatever is showing up in your life is a sign that invites you to step more and more fully into the wisdom that is already and always yours — into discernment. I’m sure of it.

It’s true: the whole world IS filled with signs. Sometimes hanging on the wall right in front of you. Sometimes hidden and waiting to be found. Always taking you deeper, and then deeper still. And what you’ll find there is far more glorious than an angel in black tights. I’m sure of it.


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About my recent book-proposal rejection

A month or so ago I got a rejection letter from the publishing company to whom I sent my book proposal. To be fair, “rejection” is too harsh. It was more of a “suggestion” letter: recommended next steps, etc. But to say I was not disappointed would be too “light” and dismissive.

In the throes of all my emotions, I remembered a year-plus ago when I was still in my corporate position. I taught a program on confrontation. As part of the in-classroom experience, participants wrote out a statement using a particular framework and then read it (in simulation) to the person they were confronting. One part of that “script” was naming their feelings about the situation, the offense, the issue at hand. For example, “When you lied to me, I felt angry (or betrayed or sad or frustrated, etc.)” As I walked around the room and listened in, I’d inevitably hear someone say, “When you ______, I felt disappointed.” That was my cue to interrupt the process for a few minutes, head back to the front of the room, and offer the following:

“I forgot to mention: ‘disappointed’ is not an emotion. It’s your (unmet) expectations; not what you’re actually feeling. When we tell someone we are disappointed in them it evokes their shame, which isn’t going to get us any closer to resolution. What do you really feel?”

And that memory? Right. Got it.

Disappointment is real, but it’s not a feeling — not like grief, joy, anger, or fear. It’s a circumstance or state-of-things. It only shows up when my expectations are not met — which feels important to name. And it is only ever present because of me: my thoughts, my hopes, my beliefs (even if misguided).

So what do I really feel? Sad. A tiny bit angry. Frustrated. And clear…there is more work to be done.

Yes, of course: I am disappointed, too. It would have been lovely to receive an enthusiastic “yes.” But underneath that, further up and further in, when I was willing to look closely, I was able to return to some things that feel more important and more true:

  • When disappointment arrives (which, of course it does and will again), we would be well served to ask how its presence might serve us. How it might remind and reinforce exactly what we care about, why we’re doing what we’re doing, that it matters? For me, the rejection, though a sting, actually compels me to be even more committed to what I’m writing, to stay the course, to remember why it matters and just how much.
  • Look closely at what is actually happening, actually being said, actually true. This took me a hot minute, believe me. I had to read through the email a couple more times before I could find the suggestion instead of the rejection; the affirmation of the overall concept, my writing, and its importance; the encouragement to finish the manuscript and circle back. Right, that.
  • Acknowledge that disappointment has to do with our own unmet expectations, no one else, nothing else. Maybe those need to be looked at more closely and recalibrated. And maybe, just maybe, that means I need to look most closely at me not “them.” I still have agency and choice, even (and maybe especially) when it feels like it’s been taken away.

Even in writing this piece, in openly admitting that I didn’t get an effusive and immediate “yes,” I can feel the disappointment resurface. Natural. Normal. And not where I want to stay…

There’s more writing to be done!

3 ways to be fear-defying in writing and life

When I look back over 17 years of blogging, here’s what stands out to me:

My voice has fluctuated, depending on the level of fear I’ve felt at any given time.

I’ll admit: “fear” sounds too strong, somehow, but when I boil it down, that IS what’s left.

What I wrote about when I was still married and still part of the church, is far different than what I said once outside both those structures (and strictures). I can see and remember how afraid I was to express my doubts, my questions, my grief, and the many places in which I was feeling more anger than hope. I was afraid I’d be misunderstood, that I’d go too far, that I’d be too much.

What I wrote about in my 40’s and 50’s was different than what I write today — now in my 60’s. And though I could go into all of the details and themes inherent here, suffice it to say, I was afraid I’d be misunderstood, that I’d go too far, that I’d be too much.

This looking back has “forced” me to track the circumstances and seasons in which I held back, hid even, because of fear — all of which was expressed (or not) in my writing. And as I’m inventorying every bit of this, I’m not only getting clearer about fear’s presence, but angrier. Not at myself, but at fear itself.

As women on this planet, we have been conditioned to be afraid, to be far more concerned with how others perceive and experience us, than to hold fast to (even fight on behalf of) who we know-that-we-know-that-we-know ourselves to be.

That needs to change.

In If Women Rose Rooted, Sharon Blackie says:

To become [one] who can express her wrath rather than her rage, and warn of the dire consequences of ignoring it, is to have stepped fully into your own power as a woman.

And in Untamed, Glennon Doyle says that women need to be “full of themselves.”

What we need right now is more women who have detoxed themselves so completely from the world’s expectations that they are full of nothing but themselves. What we need are women who are full of themselves.

A few chapters later she says this:

What the world needs is masses of women who are entirely out of control.

We must, you and me both, consider who we’d be and how we’d be, if fear weren’t present. Yes, in writing. In relationships. In our choices. In our work.

We must, you and me both, be crystal clear on (and done with) everything that has perpetuated its presence.

We must, you and me both, begin and continue to name our wrath over our rage.

We must, you and me both, step fully into our power as women. No more holding back. No more hiding. No more fear. Done.


Here are three provocative questions to consider that serve as a helpful start and then some in this fear-defying, world-changing work:

  1. Who would you be right now (and what would you write) if you expressed your rage (at fear and all that perpetuates) it instead of ignoring it?
  2. Who would you be right now (and what would you write) if you didn’t pay any attention at all to anyone’s expectations of you?
  3. Who would you be right now (and what would you write) if you were entirely out of control (at least as far as the world is concerned)?

I won’t speak for you (though I’m guessing you feel the same): The answers to these three questions define how and what I want to write; more, how I want to live and who I want to be: unbound by fear, unmoved by others’ expectations, and completely unrestrained (even out of control).

May it be so.

Your Wild Voice Within

…the shadow of Wild Woman still lurks behind us during our days and in our nights. No matter where we are, the shadow that trots behind us is definitely four-footed. ~ Clarissa Pinkola Estes

The wild voice within that says more and edits less. It digs deep and dives down. It is impossible to embarrass and completely unrestrained. It refuses to keep quiet. It’s not interested in playing nice. It is passionate, risky, even  risqué. It is dark and red and viscous. It weeps. It delights. It knows. It howls at the moon. And on paper – in journals and on documents – it captures all of this and then some…

But that’s about as far as it goes. 

The voice without holds sway. The one that’s required. The one that’s acceptable. The one that others can handle.

But what of the pages and pages that never see the light of day? Notebooks and journals written by hand. Hundreds of documents started then saved. 3×5 cards scattered in the bottom of drawers. Ideas barely captured before they disappear.

Disheveled and raw, desperate almost, this voice pours forth. Never mind the incomplete thoughts, the inchoate sentences, the impossible to deny emotions. Still it speaks. The voice within is wild and will not be tamed. 

Often held at bay by nothing more (nor less) than a lump in the throat – it sits on the tip of the tongue. 

Eventually, always, undeniable truth and endless desire and sheer volume finally tip the scales. 

The wild voice within within is acknowledged, seen, run toward, and embraced – like the Prodigal returned. No longer outcast, marginalized, hidden away. Far from penitent or tame. Fiercer than ever before. Articulate and wise beyond measure. Consonants, vowels, words, sentences, pages, index cards, memories, stories, beliefs, emotions – all tumble forward. Falling, twirling, dancing, taking form. Every stroke of the pen, peck of a key, and paper stacked or saved finally and  fluently coalesce. Alchemy. Magic. Grace. Nothing but pure, unadulterated beauty and strength flows forth. 

On that day and for all that follow, finally reunited and reconciled to your very self, your voice will speak-sing-write-create your way way into a world that has been waiting for you all along.

We are all filled with a longing for the wild. ~ Clarissa Pinkola Estes

May it be so. 


In my own experience and in the lives of nearly every woman I know, we hear the wild voice within, but so much keeps us from letting it speak. The list is long: what it will cost us, the consequences that will undoubtedly ensue if and when we let it loose.

This is why I devote an entire week to risks, costs, and consequences as part of SOVEREIGNTY – my live, 9-week program. It is hard to be 100% yourself, 100% of the time – to let the wild voice within actually show up in all of your world.

Spoiler Alert: I will not tell you how to mitigate or avoid the risks, costs, and consequences. They’re a given when we choose to step into all of who we are – unedited, unrestrained, and in integrity. But I will tell you lots about what sovereignty looks and feels like in the midst of all this. Not easy answers; true ones.

Registration is open. We begin in early September. Learn more and apply today.