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I recently had the opportunity to speak with Susan Casey of the L.E.A.P. podcast about loss and trauma; the challenges that change the course of our lives, leaving us to navigate new territories.

Episode highlights:

  • What I discovered about my husband David’s world that led him to suicide
  • The letter that David wrote to me before his death
  • The intense trauma that this event caused in my life
  • The “suicide swamp of shame”
  • Going through the deepest descent that I could imagine
  • Following a ritual breaking of a vessel
  • What to do when your world has been erased by trauma and loss
  • How to be able to be with what is
  • The power of the Persephone/Demeter myth and how it speaks to the conscious and subconscious mind
  • Learning to see in the dark
  • Owning my wisdom and power and how I got there
  • Accepting the grief journey and where I’m at ten years later
  • Reclaiming myself through writing
  • My new book, You Make Your Path By Walking: A Transformational Field Guide Through Trauma and Loss

    Listen in for hope, resilience, and inspiration:

    Do you start the New Year with renewed hope and optimism for positive change only to find yourself 12 months later rewriting the same vows to yourself?

    In this episode of Women Thriving, Unapologetically, Lynsie dives in with me, Suzanne Anderson, co-author of The Way of the Mysterial Woman, to reveal the missing ingredient to happiness. You will discover how to unhook yourself from the unconscious patterns that keep you stuck, burnt out, and from creating genuine growth that takes you to the next level in life.

    Episode Highlights:

    • The missing link to sustainable growth and happiness
    • Symptoms of burnout
    • Where discontent and yearning come from
    • Upgrading your inner operating system so that you’re a match for the complexity of the world today
    • Why the hypermasculine structure no longer works and the Feminine needs to come online now
    • The “stuckness” that women entrepreneurs and leaders are currently feeling
    • Navigating the limiting archetypal code of “I am not enough”
    • How to change the trajectory of your life and choose the right path
    • Overcoming the habitual ways of being and traumas that have kept you hostage
    • Working with the immunity to change – the energetic, magnetic patterns in the unconscious
    • The Feminine and Masculine archetypal polarities that we work through in The Mysterial Sequence
    • Rest into and value your being, knowing what is yours to do
    • The 8 Mysterial meta-capacities that we see arising in the world and in ourselves
    • Why women and why now?
    • My upcoming 15-month Mysterial Leadership Emergence Program, an invitation to permanently upgrade the way you live, love and lead


    I would love to live
    Like a river flows,
    Carried by the surprise
    Of its own unfolding.
    ~ John O’Donohue

    We can be so hard on ourselves, can’t we? Pushing toward a goal with unrelenting harshness, trying to control things to go the way our minds think they should go. 

    • How can I still have belly fat when I’m working out every day, intermittent fasting, not eating carbs and sugar?
    • How come I’m still reacting to my children after all this inner work I have done?
    • Why can’t I just make the decision and take the actions I know I need to take?
    • Why can’t I find my sense of direction or purpose and make a greater contribution in the world right now?
    • Where did my playful spirit go and how did life become such hard work?
    • What’s wrong with me that I can’t find a relationship that really works where I feel met and accepted for who I am?
    • Why am I so overwhelmed and exhausted by everything (and everyone) I am responsible for and have nothing left for myself at the end of the day?
    • ​What’s wrong with me that I am anxious and depressed on some level a lot of the time, even though anyone looking in would say I “have it all” and should be happy.

    Can you relate to any of these judgements, fears, disappointments? 

    What if the discomfort in our lives is not a sign of failure or an indication that we have somehow done something wrong? What if it is simply a signal that our inner operating system is limited and is ready for an upgrade so that we can become the women we sense ourselves to be.

    Women born for these times. 

    With the Harvest full moon in Pisces today (Saturday at 2:59 am PST) we are being invited to get a bit dreamy, relax the inner critic and grip we have on ourselves to be someone or something or somewhere we aren’t yet.

    It is a powerful time to drop the whip from our hands, be more accepting of where we are right now,  surrender and go with the flow. This is the place from which to start the work of shifting – flowing from the ground of where we are right now. 

    So here is a practice for you to deepen the Feminine capacity to go with the flow.

    It is specifically for awakening the inner Maiden archetype – you can read more about the Maiden archetype and why it is so important to access this energy in this blog.

    Go with the Flow Practice for Cultivating Emergent Flow

    Emergent Flow: To be fully in the now and open to whatever emerges as you follow the creative impulse into action. A feeling of spontaneous joy, energized focus, full involvement and effortless effort in whatever you are doing. 

    Select a period of time, such as a Saturday morning, and for at least one hour simply follow the flow of your pleasure and joy. When something stops being pleasurable you stop doing it. This activity must be done alone so that you are not adjusting to someone else’s rhythms or desires. 

    Example of Practice: She went to a morning yoga class, then wandered around the outdoor market in her neighborhood, letting herself be drawn to various foods, objects and conversations as they emerged naturally for her. She sat down on a bench in the park with her coffee and listened to a musician playing folk songs. In the middle of a song she got up (normally she would have been polite and waited until the end) and found herself walking away from the market and into a trendy home boutique store nearby. She let the beautiful objects awaken and inspire her sensual, creative nature. As she turned down one of the aisles in the store she saw a young woman whom she had mentored at work many years before and they had a powerful and meaningful conversation together. It nourished her soul. 

    After you do the practice consider journaling on these questions:

    1. What was your embodied experience as you surrendered to flow – what were your feelings, sensations, and the quality of your thoughts? 
    2. What was the quality of your experience after you did the practice? What did you notice about your energy and attention? Did the inner critic soften its grip?

    I would love to hear what you have discovered in the Comments below. 

    “The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.” 
    ~ Elisabeth Kubler – Ross

    What if the challenges in our lives and our suffering are not the things that we have to just get past in order to become the person and create the life that we sense we were born to be and live? 

    What if the traumas and losses in our lives are portals through which we can enter into a profound transformation that takes us closer to our true nature. The wounded ego – or Habitual Way of Being as I call it –  tells us something else entirely as it braces itself against the pull of the opening to try to keep things the same.

    Beautiful people do not just happen. 

    There is nothing easy about these times we are living in. There are global and personal challenges now that are in many ways more complex than our current consciousness and capacity to handle them. The conditions are ripe for profound transformation, as we are being compelled to develop and become women who are a match for this world. You could say we have a kind of evolutionary tailwind to awaken a more expanded consciousness and cultivate the leadership capacities needed if we would just stop resisting the changes. 

    But that means going toward the very wounds from our past that are getting triggered by the stresses of our lives today…the very pain that we don’t want to feel, that was too overwhelming then and today we would rather just shut down, numb out or run away than have to feel those feelings. 

    This is what it means to be an emerging Mysterial – it is about being able to be with our own suffering as a gateway to revealing our true nature. And it is our true nature or essence in all its uniqueness that the world is hungry for right now. 

    Beautiful people do not just happen. 

    Dr. Gabor Maté, a Hungarian-born Canadian physician and expert in trauma-informed care said in a podcast I listened to recently:

    “And so people could be wounded in all kinds of ways, and especially a sensitive child can be wounded just because his feelings are not understood. Or his needs aren’t exactly met, or because the parent is too busy, or because the parents are stressed, and the child takes on the role of protecting the parent from the stresses by suppressing their own feelings. So there’s all kinds of ways in which people can be wounded. So trauma is not just a wound, but it’s a wound that’s not healed. So it causes a defensiveness. It causes more pain.

    Also, what happens to wounds is that they scar over. And if you look at a flesh wound that’s scarred by the scar tissue, it’s less flexible. It has less feeling in it. It doesn’t grow. It doesn’t develop. It’s a protective covering, but it doesn’t have the flexibility and the vitality of real flesh. And so people who are wounded are limited and constricted in their capacity to respond to the world. They become separated from their own feelings, sometimes from their own gut feelings, in fact, often from their own gut feelings. They develop a view of the world that’s tinted by pain or distrust. Or they lose their sense of security. They don’t know who to trust. Sometimes they trust the wrong people or they don’t trust the right people. So trauma has many implications and many consequences. And it doesn’t take horrific events to traumatize people. That’s what the big misunderstanding is.

    Now, again, you have to understand, trauma is not that bad things happen to people. Because like the Buddha said 20,000 years ago, life brings suffering. So that’s just the norm. You know, people die, your pet dies. People might reject you. Somebody you love may not respond positively. You might suffer illness. This is painful. So life brings pain, but pain is not the same as trauma. Pain becomes traumatic when that pain isn’t resolved, when it doesn’t get the support it needs, when it isn’t metabolized, when we don’t learn and grow from it. 

    Trauma is not what happens to us. Trauma is what happens inside us.”

    Beautiful people do not just happen. 

    We need the ‘holding environments’ now that we did not have earlier to allow what could be traumatizing experiences in the chaos and disruption of today, to be transformational in how we live our lives tomorrow. The first holding environment to install is our own loving presence for ourselves. To be gentle with ourselves in these uncertain times. To wrap ourselves in our own loving arms and acknowledge that the path of development is not easy. We are breaking a new trail for women in the future to be sure that they can welcome all of their Feminine and Masculine essences. We are doing this for ourselves and for the women of future generations. 

    “Imagine a world where women are unafraid to express the fullness of themselves, joyful and sad, afraid and courageous, chaotic and ordered, beautiful and ugly, autonomous and interconnected—the whole paradoxical mix of being real. 

    Imagine a world where we don’t take ourselves too seriously and yet are deeply serious about those things that matter most to us. 

    Imagine a world where women are at ease with uncertainty and paradox and can remain present and peaceful as leaders in the midst of it all. 

    Imagine a world where women bring their deep multi-dimensional knowing into expression through fierce candor, delivered with compassion. 

    Imagine a world where we are dynamically guided by women who are partners with The Great Mystery and who know how to unfold the emergent, revealing breath-taking beauty and harmony.

    Imagine this world and then imagine yourself shaping it!” 

    ~ The Way of the Mysterial Woman

    We are the ones who can hold the vision of a world that breaks free of the ongoing cycles of trauma and becomes more wise, loving, powerful and inclusive of all beings, Gaia and the cosmos itself. 

    And it all starts with each of us right where we are, truly. It starts when we allow our wounds to take us toward the shadow places in ourselves that block the light. Our hearts open, our minds become unstuck from old limiting beliefs, our bodies thaw to reveal true wisdom. 

    Beautiful people do not just happen. 

    This deeper call to wholeness is rippling to us all. Do you hear it in your life? 

    There is something so stunning about how the fullness of new life is held packed tight inside a seed until the moment is just right to unfurl itself into the world. This time of the year in the Pacific Northwest is an eruption of lime green, bold colors, luscious scent and beauty, as spring plants emerges after the dormant winter. I particularly love watching the ferns in my backyard do their elegant opening.

    What is brewing down in the innermost chambers of your heart just waiting to unfurl itself? You might even think of it this way – imagine that you are standing on the edge of your lineage, a Mysterial woman bringing profound new ways of being into expression in the world. What might future generations be thankful for you giving birth to in these ‘tipping point’ times? 

    I would like to offer you a new way to unfold the future that is not coded by the hypermasculine limiting belief of ‘I have to do to be of value’. This outdated code deep down in our unconscious arises from a sense that we are fundamentally ‘not enough’ and that we have to prove our value by pushing things into form as fast as possible. Bigger, better, faster is the mainstream mantra. 

    But there is another way – a creative process that, just like nature, honors the Feminine seed phase of the cycle first with Stillness. It is here that we nourish the soil of potentiality, discern what might be trying to come into form and let our dreams and imagination carry us along new pathways. This is where we give ourselves permission to not know, to let our deepest desires gather in the belly and the heart before exploding with an idea in the mind. This is where we rest back, trust the process and allow the conditions for our emergence to ripen. 

    “ What shape waits in the seed of you to grow and spread its branches against a future sky?”
    ~ David Whyte 

    From Stillness the cycle moves to Connection. Again there is no direct action or pushing forward. In this phase you are letting the tendrils of the impulse inside begin to mix with the world beyond you – those who might be involved, the timing of factors, the signs and signals from the universe. This is where you presence what might be possible, where you send your call into the world and see who responds. This is where your seedling impulse comes into the collective field and starts to shift and change in that space of ‘interbeing’. 

    And when the web of connection has been well woven, the next phase of Action naturally wants to arise from this ground of being. And this action is more like ‘effortless effort’ than pushing the rock up the hill like Sisyphus. This is where you bring your focused capacity to dynamically manifest in form what has been brewing underground. This is the phase of the cycle that reveals to your often surprised eyes the true beauty and wonder of the initial creative impulse.

    The final phase of the Creative Process, like the first phase of Stillness, is often forgotten as well. It is Release. After you have moved your impulse into the best possible actions in the moment you must release them into the field of all possibilities. This is where you let go of attachment to outcome and let the potential future meet you. This is where you celebrate your accomplishment and surrender back again into Stillness. 

    So what is stirring in the fertile, loamy soil of your being these days? What is the shape of the longing that is tugging at your heart? What might be trying to get your attention? From an astrological point of view (Mercury stations retrograde, Jupiter moves into Aries and we have the upcoming lunar eclipse in Scorpio on May 15th just for starters) this is a very good to tune into what your heart desires and while staying in Stillness and Connection feel the potential for inspired action in the future. 

    My Mysterial Creative Process 

    For the last few months, I have been in a Stillness phase relative to the future – waiting, watching and discerning where our Mysterial Murmuration wants to move next. I have completed the draft manuscript of my second book – You Make Your Path by Walking: A Transformational Field Guide Through Trauma and Loss and I am moving forward to publish with SheWritesPress who published The Way of the Mysterial Woman: Upgrading How You Live, Love and Lead. The publication date is June 13th, 2023 – still a ways off but it is exciting to have a birth date on the calendar now! Please mark it on yours too! 

    Our transformational 15-month program Mysterial Leadership Emergence Program is now midway through The Mysterial Sequence. For those who are new to our work, this is our R-evolutionary developmental path for women that activates all of our Feminine and Masculine essences along an archetypal pathway – Mother, Hero, Father, Maiden and Crone. (Start here with the Mother Wound to learn more about the Mysterial Sequence.) Our courageous and committed cohort of women have just moved through the deep shadow work of The Mother and Hero archetypes to claim Empowered Radiant Presence and are working now with The Father archetype to take their sovereign seat in True Authority. 

    The seed that I have been tending for some time now in our Murmuration is the creation of a more dynamic and engaged community space. For the past 4 years we have had a FB group as our community space and it has grown organically to be a substantial community of over 4000 members. And while I am grateful for what we have been able to create on this platform, we are ready to create an ad-free space (where we are not being marketed to through random algorithms) that can be a kind of Mysterial Sanctuary for our Murmuration.

    A place where you can connect more directly with other women aligned with our Murmuration. A sacred place where you can go to be nourished in the middle of the day, listen to a poem, or a soothing piece of music, read an inspiring post or share one for others, learn and grow together into the women that future generations will be grateful for – community of like-minded women who are committed to being Mysterial agents of change in these difficult times on the planet. 

    We are needed and we will need each other. 

    For the past 3 years, I have been using a beautiful platform for our programs created by women, called Mighty Networks. This is the community space we will be transitioning to from our FB group. We are in the process now of designing it so stayed tuned for more updates. 

    I look forward to being with you in more intimate and connected ways as we dynamically steer through the turbulent waters of these times. 

    “I have come into the world to see this, the swords drop from man’s hands, even at the top of their arc of anger, because we have finally realized that there is just one flesh that we can wound.”
    ~ Hafiz

    You are not alone. You are part of a vast web of life and what you do and how you live through these challenging times has powerful ripple effects. Do not underestimate how your consciousness and actions can shift and shape patterns way out beyond your immediate world.

    The shadow Masculine force that is manifesting through the war in Ukraine is an egregious example of an attempt to consolidate absolute power at any cost, autocratic bullying and self-aggrandizement at the expense of others. This patriarchal worldview, that many of us would like to see as part of our past and not our present, is very limited and does not have the ability to access the deep Feminine web of connection.

    As emerging Mysterials, we do acknowledge and value the intricate pattern that connects us all. Tending the Field is the name I have given to a powerful capacity that brings together our Feminine and Masculine strengths to positively influence the collective.

    I invite you to read the words below and let them evoke your
    body, heart, mind and soul.

    Imagine yourself as a woman on the edge of evolution Tending the Field.

    Vibrating from the center
    Your awareness ripples out in all directions, in all dimensions, touching every level.

    You are the conductor of a great collective symphony
    Receiving all that is vibrating in the present moment
    Without judgment.

    Cueing in the subtle notes and the most brash
    Knowing which ones to silence, to harmonize, to take center stage
    The orchestra itself, larger than any one instrument.

    You tend the heat of conflict as an alchemical fire turning lead into gold
    The sweet waters of appreciation harmonizing the differences.

    Your whole being resonates with the music of the field
    As you tune it toward the possible.

    Some Practices for Tending the Field.

    Now that you have let yourself imagine this way of being, let’s get a little more specific with how you might grow this leadership capacity in the midst of these intense times.

    Take time each day to send prayers for safety and peace to everyone in the Ukraine region. The subtle field level of connection is real and those blessings of love do make a difference. Stand with Ukraine and those opposing this war in Russian and around the world through donating to an organization that resonates with you if you are able. Valerie Kaur, The Revolutionary Love Project, has curated a list of organizations that are offering aid to the citizens if you’re looking for ways to support Ukraine.

    Work directly with the Masculine shadows in yourself so that you can find your own inner Hero that can energetically align with the Heroes in Ukraine and elsewhere who are standing up to the dark conquering power that is on the move.

    The shadow Masculine lives as a trauma in our own bodies, hearts and minds. It has been passed down for millenia and during an event like this in Ukraine it can be activated in our own systems even if we aren’t directly involved in the situation.

    We will need to find a ground inside ourselves that is large enough to handle the feelings of rage, fear and grief that may get triggered. Or if you find yourself feeling numb it may be that this is your way to suppress the feelings that are just too overwhelming. It is important to find the ways to ‘be with’ these feelings through journaling, meditation, movement, or conversations with friends. If you bypass this step you will have a hard time staying present and available as this crisis unfolds.

    One of the most powerful ways you can Tend the Field is to do your own inner excavation to uproot the shadows of the Hero archetype. In our approach to Mysterial awakening we ignite the healthy Hero archetype as the 2nd Activation in the Mysterial Sequence, after we have done the deep work of cultivating our deep Feminine essence. Without the grounding and containment of the healthy Mother archetype, the overly active Dominator shadow of the Hero burns through our lives like a rampaging wildfire, rendering us barren, exhausted and soulless. Or fearing this rapacious force, we can fall into the passive Capitulator shadow and keep this healthy Masculine force at arms length, leaving its dangerous heat to others who become our heroes.

    Ask yourself where the Dominator or Capitulator Codes might still be operating in you:

    • Where do you default to holding onto control or power at the expense of another?
    • In what ways do you insist that you are right and the other is wrong?
    • Where do you capitulate in the midst of conflict?
    • In what ways might you feel that your prayers or actions won’t make a difference.

    This is Pisces season and it is important to soak in the healing waters of self care while you tend to the fires in your own lives and on the global level.

    Hot baths with epsom salts, walks in nature, pedicures (Pisces rules the feet), love making, nourishing food, taking in beauty, listening to music, playing with children and animals.

    And remember you are truly not alone…

    “There is an endless net of threads throughout the universe…At every crossing of the threads there is an individual. And every individual is a crystal bead. And every crystal bead reflects not only the light from every other crystal in the net but also every other reflection throughout the entire universe.”

    Paraphrased from the Rig Veda by Anne Adams

    Beautiful art by Joyce Huntington

    “The only way to ease our fear and be truly happy is to acknowledge our fear and look deeply at its source. Instead of trying to escape from our fear, we can invite it up to our awareness and look at it clearly and deeply.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

    Often the New Year starts out with a bold vision, clear action plans and energy focused toward all the possibilities in the open space ahead. In my experience, our start into 2022 has felt more like a gradual slow glide than an energetic launch into the new cycle. Astrological wisdom confirms that until Mercury comes out of retrograde on February 3rd we are still in the midst of a time to turn inwards, reflect on who we are becoming, what we want to manifest and what might be blocking us from acting on what we sense is ours to do. 

    This week is the perfect time to look more ‘clearly and deeply’ at the fears which may be preventing us from being truly happy in the midst of whatever life is offering us. There is enormous collective uncertainty in the world right now relative to the pandemic, economic instability, geopolitical intensities, climate crisis, social movements and more. And then there are the things in our own lives that might be a bit shaky and uncertain. It is definitely a lot to handle.

    As women who are choosing to be on the edge of evolution shaping a new world through our consciousness and actions, we will have to more fully understand our fear and its source. If we try to avoid the discomfort in our bodies when fear arises we will find that our worlds grow smaller and smaller. Freedom and authentic self-expression are possible when we do the very thing that our conditioned mind does not want us to do…and that is turn toward the fears.

    I was told a story once when I was in South Africa that has stuck with me. It was a teaching fable that the elders used to encourage their youth to go toward their fear. 

    When the lions are hunting across the plains they have a tactic that involves the oldest male lion with the loudest roar going into the long grass on one side of a trail. On the other side of the trail, the younger male lions quietly wait in the grass. When a herd of roaming Springbok antelope pass by, the old male lion lets out a mighty roar. Naturally, the Springbok run in the opposite direction where the waiting lions catch their prey.

    The moral of the story

    How do we do that? 

    Watch the brief video below of a little Blue Penguin being returned to the ocean off the coast of New Zealand after a rescue operation, as a powerful way to anchor in your body what it feels like to turn toward your fear and transform it into the aliveness required for a whole new level of freedom.

    Turning toward your fear is the invitation of these times. This is very different from trying to power through fear without acknowledging what you are feeling or overidentifying with the emotion and shutting down. 

    Things are not going to get easier and more certain anytime soon. We are being asked to grow the capacity to transform outdated fear responses and experience the freedom on the other side. I am not saying that there aren’t times to listen to the fear response when things are genuinely dangerous. But far too often our habitual response is based on something that is no longer true. The issue or situation is not actually life and death even though that is what the body and conditioned mind would like to tell us. 

    Our opportunity in these intense times is to bring the light of our conscious compassionate awareness to the exploration of fear.

    Observe: Cultivate the capacity of the observer to notice when you are triggered into a fear state. What are the feelings and sensations in the body (tension, clenched stomach, sweaty palms, heart beating, fear, anxiety, anger?) What thoughts tend to accompany these feelings ( This isn’t safe; I can’t trust them; it wouldn’t work anyway; who do I think I am.) When you are triggered like this what is your conditioned behavioral response (Fight, Flight, Freeze, Fawn)?

    Allow: Allow the feelings to be there without pushing them away or exaggerating them. Just be with the feeling wave and let it move through you. 

    Center: Let the mind be quiet (let all mental chatter go – worries from the past or stories about the future) and breathe into the feelings and sensations in the body until you find your way to an experience of grounded center. Go further toward the feeling.

    Investigate: Ask yourself what outdated limiting beliefs might be underneath this activation that feels like life and death. What do you believe from the past to be true? Is it still true? You can also check whether any of the 5 limiting beliefs that we uncovered as consistently present in women resonate in you:

    I am not enough 

    I have to do to be of value

    I do not belong

    I am not free to express myself fully 

    I don’t have enough knowledge, connection or influence

    Reframe: Reframe the intense sensations in the body from fear to aliveness. Orient yourself toward a future possibility, a freedom that pulls you through the foamy waters and out into the open sea. 

    As preparation for real life situations that activate your fear response do something you fear – learn to move with, not against these powerful feelings. Start small and work through these five steps. Just like getting stronger muscles by working out at the gym, cultivating a Mysterial response to fear will take practice. 

    Play Sara Bareilles’ empowering song Be Brave the next time you are getting ready to run toward your fear!

    Do you Recognize Your Own Mysterial Leadership Emerging?

    This budding quality of leadership is not based exclusively on roles, power, and command over others. It is an integral way of being that takes into account your vibrant inner world, your outer capacity for effective action, your co-creative relationships with others and your understanding and influence of the systems and structures of the world.

    Our definition of leadership manifests in the smallest, most mundane activities in your life, as well as the profound and consequential actions you may take. It is about how you get up in the morning and do what needs to be done even though you might be feeling your own fear and anxiety. It is about making wise decisions in the press of your professional responsibilities and the ambiguities of conflicting information. It is about taking the time during a busy day to stop and be with a good friend who is struggling, as much as it is stepping forward with a new policy that could change the way health care is funded.

    A Mysterial woman who leads is committed to ongoing development as a way of life. Knowing that she is a “work in progress,” she accepts failures and feedback as part of her ongoing learning adventure. Mysterial does not mean a fixed way of being or behaving. The capacities that arise when our Mysterial nature is unlocked are constantly expanding and growing to meet the needs of the moment.

    A Mysterial woman who leads is able to bridge between the old worldview in which the majority of the world exists and the new worldview that she is here to bring. She is a kind of shape-shifter who can be in the world, but not of it. When you engage this quality of consciousness and courageously show up in the world you are able to embrace a wide range of differences while maintaining a grounded connection to your own unique experience. You recognize your relationship with Mother Earth, not just as a resource for you to use, but also as a dynamic partner with whom you are on this co-creative evolutionary journey. You tenderly care for her and her creatures just as you count on her for the food, air, water, earth and fire that you need.

    A Mysterial woman who leads is consistent in her authenticity, as present and genuine at a boardroom table as she is with the bus driver on her morning commute. She knows the power of a dynamic collective and takes the time and effort to tend to the energetic field of any group she is in. She is willing to be vulnerable and open in a quality of dynamic mutuality with others that naturally creates a trusting environment where everyone brings their best selves forward.

    A Mysterial woman who leads draws upon all her ways of knowing. She allows things to manifest in natural and unpredictable ways so that creative solutions arise that are vastly more complex than anything that could have been invented through a predictable process. She is open to the mystery of life and welcomes uncertainty, ambiguity, and change as necessary aspects of any creative endeavor.

    A Mysterial woman who leads knows how to pace herself and others as she engages in her well-lived life. She values being as much as she does doing; stillness as much as action. She tunes herself to coherence, order, harmony and beauty at the same time as she recognizes and embraces the incomplete, chaotic, conflicted and ugly dimensions of reality.

    A Mysterial woman who leads understands the current world pattern of “power over” and how to navigate through it, and yet is committed to a life of “power with and for” others. She knows that true wisdom is not something she can glean only with her rational mind but rather is something that emerges when she is open at all levels—body, mind, heart and soul—in any moment and fully present to all that streams through her.

    Love is her deepest motivating impulse, guiding her to more and more wholeness and compassionate connection with herself, others, and the world around.

    Sound familiar?

    I encourage you to take any one of these images and energize it in your lived experience. Become the woman today that has the capacities needed for the women of tomorrow to thrive. 

    You are Oceanic

    By Tapiwa Mugabe 

    All she wanted

    was to find a place to stretch her bones

    A place to lengthen her smiles

    and spread her hair

    A place where her legs could walk

    without cutting or bruising

    A place unchained

    She was born out of ocean breath.

    I reminded her;

    ‘Stop pouring so much of yourself 

    into hearts that have no room for themselves

    Do not thin yourself 

    Be vast

    You do not bring the ocean to a river’. 

    We are such beautiful, vast beings living in a beautiful and vast universe. And yet how easy it is to forget this and shrink ourselves down to fit in, to be loved, to find safety and belonging. This is an understandable part of our developmental process. When we were younger, we learned what parts of ourselves were acceptable and those which weren’t – well we tucked those into the shadow realms of our unconscious. That worked quite well for some time but then, as we continue to grow, we discover that our hardwired ways of being are simply not getting us the results they used to, and we long for a sense of freedom, expansiveness, and fulfillment. 

    This is the critical moment when we reach the limits of our conditioned patterns and this is the moment when we can choose to either numb out, stay stuck and feel hopeless, or we can recognize this suffering as an indication that it is time to turn on the developmental tap again. But it is not easy as an adult because now we have complex worlds, and we are responsible for many structures and relationships that were formed from that old consciousness. 

    Our challenge then is to do the very thing that our conscious mind has been working hard to prevent. We have to turn toward the feelings that were unbearable when we were younger and that led to the splitting off of parts of ourselves that we now need and want to experience. 

    For example, let me share a common story that I have heard from women who enter our Mysterial Leadership programs. They had been doing all the ‘right’ things in their lives, had been successful by all the outer measures but inside they felt soul dead and resigned to a life that felt far from aligned. They had tried lots of self-help strategies, enrolled in numerous courses, and while the suffering might have been relieved for a brief time, before long they were right back where they were before. 

    The basic neuroscience of our immunity to change is this…

    Let’s say that when you were a child you were told that anger was not lady-like and not acceptable. You learned that feeling and expressing anger did not get you the love and sense of belonging that you were rightly seeking. So you did a very wise thing. You put your anger into the shadow basement of your unconscious. That worked for a long time in your life as you created a ‘good girl’ persona, always bending over backwards to make others feel OK so that you never rocked the boat. But now you are exhausted, and you want yourself back and you want to set boundaries and say No to what is not yours to do. You want to do what you love to do, to make a difference in the world but you have no idea even what that is. 

    Anger surges up through your body from time to time escaping from the basement, trying to communicate that something is not right, some boundary has been crossed…but because it is still overwhelming to feel anger you self-regulate by pushing it away and saying yes yet again to something that is not yours to do. And then you feel resentful and exhausted. 

    The psychosomatic move that is required here is to woo the shadow parts of yourself back into your identity by turning toward the anger…learning to be with the feeling 2% longer than usual, resisting discharging the feeling by over-giving and create the space inside to listen to what it is trying to tell you. Re-member your anger as a natural and important feeling conveying information about what matters most to you. 

    We find our vastness through these simple acts of liberating ourselves from the old patterns of thinking, feeling and sensing. And it is this expansive consciousness that we need now not only to hold the complexity of our own personal worlds in a very new way, but also to hold the challenging factors in our global interconnected world.

    Last year I read this NYTimes sobering article about the just released UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – A Hotter Future is Certain, Climate Panel Warns, But How Hot is Up to Us. The truly alarming findings from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report that rippled expected, but nonetheless deeply unsettling, news across the globe yesterday is another message of the need to wake up now. 

    What I know for sure is that we will need to find our inner vastness to heed the call! 

    As I read the report this morning a hummingbird came to the feeder outside my window, vibrant wing beats settling as she dipped her long beak into the nectar. And I thought about this earth that I love so much and all the beautiful beings who live on it. And the stark truth that many will perish…have already perished. As the article states, global warming is likely to rise around 1.5 degrees Celsius within the next two decades and a hotter future is now essentially locked in. 

    “Nearly 1 billion people worldwide could swelter in more frequent life-threatening heat waves. Hundreds of millions more would struggle for water because of severe droughts. Some animal and plant species alive today will be gone. Coral reefs, which sustain fisheries for large swaths of the globe, will suffer more frequent mass die-offs.” And on it goes.

    So how do we take in and hold the reality of what our beautiful blue planet and all of us on it are going through now and will go through in the next decades? And how do we know what is ours to do to fix what is still fixable in a world that is burning? 

    We will need to truly awaken our consciousness by clearing the shadows that hold us hostage so that we are able to hold so much more complexity than we have ever had to hold before as a human species. And we will need to build the capacities required to be a match for the wicked problems that these times are asking us to solve. 

    Bitterness, hopelessness and despair are not options that I want women to choose now. 

    We will need to learn how to let go of what needs to pass away and how to stay connected to the deep dream of what could emerge next in our own lives and in the world as we move through this global rite of passage. Without a sense of the larger context of the quantum leap we are in the midst of making our own suffering, confusion, anxiety, depression and fear can be debilitating. 

    During our 10 years of research into the leadership capacities women would need to be a match for these complex times, these 8 capacities were critical. 

    These are the capacities that we will need to remain vast when the heat is turned up in our personal lives and on the planet. This advanced Mysterial inner operating system and the subsequent new options for action that become possible is unprecedented in human history. These capacities are coming in now for the first time as an evolutionary upgrade, because we need them to take on the challenges of a society that is outstripping what we constructed with our earlier meaning-making consciousness. 

    And everything is at stake. 

    In my book The Way of the Mysterial Woman there are lots of simple practices to help you awaken these capacities.

    But if you are ready now to truly align with the evolutionary tailwind pushing us forward and enter into the alchemy of transformation so that you can cultivate the capacities needed to hold steady in these burning times, then I invite you to invest in yourself and in the planet by joining us in Emergence. Our urban mystery school program that we launch every 18 months has a proven track record of profoundly shifting consciousness and awakening the leadership capacities needed to take your place as a woman on the edge of evolution helping to shape a new world. 

    Be the calm waters in the midst of these fiery times. 

    “As a dedicated self-improvement junkie, I have invested in adult learning classes, seminars and retreats for over 35 years. I’ve signed up for everything from Byron Katie, Rick Hanson, Elizabeth Gilbert and Brene Brown to Wisdom 2.0 mindfulness and wellness workshops – and even committed to a year-long personal intensive in Taos, New Mexico. Working with Suzanne was the most effective and deep work that I have ever done. She gave me the support, resources and tools, empathy and encouragement that I needed to change my old ways of thinking and be my best self out in the world.”

    Cindi, Director of Client Relations / Executive Coach

    Learn more about the Mysterial Leadership Emergence Program here.

    In these days of the Great Unravelling, as COVID-19 lurches us back and forth out of lockdown, as we are being asked to face the shadows of systemic racism in ourselves and culture, as we confront the uncertainty around our economic future, as we fear for our health and that of those we love, as we are constrained by a virus out of our control… we are all feeling vulnerable.

    What if this vulnerability were not a liability, but a portal through which we could travel into the life we are longing to live and the world we want to bequeath to our children?

    What outdated beliefs, patterns, paradigms are showing themselves to us through the uncomfortable places in our lives?

    Resting into the ground of being is how we will be able to hold space for the vulnerable opening that is trying to happen. And this cracking out of the old shell, albeit often painful, sets us free to stretch out in the vastness of our essence.

    I invite you to read this beautiful poem and take in the video below for further exploration:

    You are Oceanic

    Tapiwa Mugabe

    “All she wanted was to find a place to stretch her bones.
    A place to lengthen her smiles
    and spread her hair
    a place where her legs could walk without cutting and bruising
    a place unchained.
    She was born out of ocean breath.
    I reminded her; ‘Stop pouring so much of yourself into hearts that have no room for themselves
    do not thin yourself, be vast.
    You do not bring the ocean to a river’.”

    ‘When you are transformed the world will be transformed, for you are the world and the world is you.’

    -The Gospel of Mary Magdalene

    In many of the talks that I have given over the last few years, I have mentioned that the upgrading of our inner operating systems to one I call Mysterial is to prepare us for the dark times ahead. I would imagine you would agree that we are in the midst of these dark times right now. They are not coming sometime in the future. 

    The global pandemic and the world financial markets reeling make it so evident that we are not separate from the world itself. We are brought back again and again to what it means to hold steady in the midst of chaos and allow the alchemy of these times to be a fire that not only transforms us but also the world. 

    For that to happen, we will all need to become more comfortable navigating the darkness. I have used the ancient Greek Myth of Persephone and Demeter for many years in my programs because it speaks so powerfully to what is needed NOW. When Kore (Persephone as a maiden) was pulled by Hades into the underworld against her will, she only knew to resist. It wasn’t until right before she was getting ready to leave that she finally ate the pomegranate seeds that were essential for her maturation. This act of taking in the fruits of the underworld meant that she would spend 6 months above and 6 months below. Eventually she became Queen of the Upper World and the Underworld.

    It is interesting to note that in the earliest translations of this myth that come from the matriarchal times, Kore was not seized but rather chose to go down to the underworld to help those souls who were crossing over from life to death. It was understood in those earlier times that descent into the territory of the deep Feminine was a natural gift of women. 

    We are needed now to embody Queen Persephone – to be the ones who know how to cross between the realms and can open ourselves to the alchemical heat of transformation. No matter how this pandemic unfolds we know already there will be millions of deaths globally. This virus will touch everyone, either you will get it or someone very close to you will. These are the statistics. And the requirement to flatten the curve of the virus means social distancing is essential. Life as usual will be curtailed for some time. 

    The future we wanted, short term and long term, is falling away. The trip that was planned, the workshops to run or attend, the family gathering, the concerts to go to, the visits with family, etc. How we move through these times is everything. We will need to use all of our Feminine and Masculine strengths, as Queen Persephone. This is what it means to be a woman on the edge of evolution. 

    And this is not easy. We are all in human bodies and the survival mechanism is very strong and primal. The archetypal map that we discovered for women’s development can be very useful right now in order to be sure that we are stabilizing ourselves in all dimensions.  

    Mysterial Leadership Practices

    Below is a list of practices that align with each of the Feminine and Masculine essences on our Mysterial Sequence pathway. I encourage you to try these out and notice which help to stabilize you in these turbulent times:

    Mother Archetype

    I am enough just as I am

    Self care is critical in these times. We know that we will be required to help others in our families and our communities and we will need to remain resilient ourselves.

    How you start your day is critical. If you wake up and check the news right away and attach to the feelings of panic and fear, this is the tone you set for the day. Instead consider the following: 

    Create an altar to well-being and call in the energies you need to help and support you. Light a candle. 

    Be with what is. This is one of the primary capacities of the healthy Mother and it allows us to be fierce with reality. Do not over exaggerate with panic or go into denial about the seriousness of this situation. Read and inform yourself about it from credible sources. Do not resist. Be willing to descend and learn to see in the dark.

    Allow yourself to feel what you feel but don’t attach to those feelings or ramp them up with fears of the future. Think of your ‘Heart Like an Ocean’ – allow the tide to come in and to go out as it needs to. Reach out to friends who can hold you through the waves of feeling that may need to move as the old passes away. The HeartMath research so clearly articulates that when your heart and brain are communicating in a calm, coherent frequency, it triggers over 1,000 chemical reactions in the body that energizes your immune system. And of course, the converse is true: When your brain is spinning out of control in fear after you spend one-too-many hours consuming the latest coronavirus news, there is a cascade of chemical reactions in the body that, among many other bad things, weakens immune function. Use the Quick Coherence technique.

    Use the Mother Capacity of Container Holding to create beauty around you. When fear grabs us, generating the harmonic force of beauty is one of the first things to go… we are just in survival mode. Take time to drop into the Vessel Yin nectar of tuning places toward the frequency of beauty: put fresh flowers in your house, play soothing music, light candles during dinner, etc. 

    Hero Archetype

    I am empowered to do what is mine to do

    Hold a focused, positive intention for health and wellbeing for you, your family, your community and all beings.The Conscious Intention we are working with in the Mysterial Community and specifically the Mysterial Woman Facebook group, is a powerful way to energize our collective vision:

    We are wise, loving and powerful women moving together as a potent guiding force turning ourselves, others close in and the world toward deep peace, compassionate love and unwavering trust in the Great Mystery as She unfolds. We are healthy and well in all ways. 

    Be very clear about what is yours to do in the midst of this crisis. You will not be able to do everything and you will need to be very discerning about actions that you need to take. Remember to source your doing from the ground of being, not from panic or pressure. 

    Boundary setting will be important for you during this time as well. Your healthy No comes from having a strong YES to something else that is more important for you. 

    Father Archetype

    I am at home in myself, and naturally belong

    Create good structures in your life that allow you to manage everything that will come up during this time of disruptions. Join the communities of belonging where you can resonate with the frequencies of love, peace and well being.

    Take the time to express your gratitude and care for others. Kindness will go a long way during this time of fear and panic. 

    Be a strong stand for sanity, clarity, strength and resilience.

    Maiden Archetype

    I am free to express my true nature

    Welcome discomfort and accept it as a force for transformation and not something to run away from.

    Remember to play and enjoy yourself when those moments arise. Laughter and joy generate the oxytocin that boosts the immune system.

    Take time to dance, be in nature, do visual journaling, sing, and play games. 

    Allow your creativity to emerge in the midst of the constrictions. Look for creative opportunities in the midst of the breakdowns.

    Crone Archetype

    I am an evolving source of wisdom, love, and power

    Rest into the Great Mystery and know that you are held and beloved on this earth. Grow more comfortable with the uncertainty and learn to watch around the edges for what is trying to emerge. 

    Be willing to let things go that must pass away and make space for the new that is trying to arise in time.

    Use ritual as a way to ground and settle your unconscious. You might burn sage in your home and ask mother sage to keep the energy in your space clear and full of love.  

    Remarkably, this poem rings the tone, stanza by stanza of each of the 5 archetypes within The Mysterial Sequence – Mother, Hero, Father, Maiden and Crone. Let us be wild, wise Mysterial Women together! 

    – Roslyne Sophia Breillat

    I am the ancient well of wisdom
    Come drink from my waters
    Come take your fill
    Not in tiny dainty sips
    But in full-bodied joy
    And innocent delight
    Of the heart 

    I am the crimson fire of passion
    Come dive into my flames
    And rise from the ashes reborn
    Not in small tentative flutters
    But in wholehearted abandon
    And free flowing flight
    Beyond the sun 

    I am the ancient standing stone
    Beneath the full moon
    Come rest your cheek upon my coolness
    And know the gentled peace of your belonging
    Not in fear or hesitation
    But in sweet surrender
    To the vastness of the night

     I am the power of wildness
    Come dance in my ecstasy
    Until you disappear
    Not with controlled steps of caution
    Or terror and shame
    But with the widespread wings
    Of formless flight

     I am the darkness of the void
    Come love within my mystery
    And know the earth’s secrets
    Not through conditions and limitations
    But in wise and ancient knowing
    I am Mother of All
    I am Crone

    A few years ago, I met a woman called Rachel, a devoted mom of two boys, brimming with talent and capability (much of it packed away like beautiful items in a hope chest), who was experiencing a major challenge.

    Her lack of self-compassion was wreaking havoc in her life. 

    Like so many women who are caring for family members or kids, she was caught in the belief that other people’s needs were her needs

    She believed that she had to anticipate and fulfill other’s needs, and shower them with love and compassion in order to be worthy. It was all up to her.

    (Does this sound familiar?) 

    To turn toward herself with that same love and compassion felt somehow wrong, even dangerous. 

    So many of us live for too long in this parched desert, devoid of the soothing waters of self-compassion. 

    That’s why I feel so fiercely passionate about the ritual I’m sharing today and have shared before. This simple daily ‘Re-Mothering Ritual’ encouraged Rachel’s sense of a strong independent self to take root and grow.

    I’ve watched it do the same thing for thousands of women I’ve had the honour to work with. 

    Image: Brian Kirhagis

    Ritual is essential to our way of being in the world as humans.

    It is built into our very structure.  

    The Swiss child psychologist Jean Piaget describes how the basic daily rituals of dressing, eating, going to bed all get activated in children around the age of three. They insist on doing things in a particular order and will be fierce in their defense of these rituals if a parent forgets the system. This is how we learn initially to structure and make meaning of a complex world of options. 

    Whether it’s a large community ritual – like all the collective rites that go on around a wedding and even the Super Bowl in the US – or the simple rituals of preparing food, eating together with family and friends during a holiday time, we need the healing power of ritual. 

    Words alone simply cannot adequately convey all that moves through our hearts and our bodies – especially during difficult times. We need another language that engages the unconscious and the fullness of our sensory natures. Music, symbols, metaphors, dance, art, theatre have all been powerfully used for millennia to help humans through times of transition.

    Back to Rachel, whose tendency to lose herself in the care of others (in order to receive their love) was leaving her on the sidelines of her life, in a powerless support position that she accepted on the surface, but bitterly resented underneath. The rhythm of a simple daily ritual helped her see how hard she was being on herself, and how little time or attention she gave to her own inner world of thoughts, feelings and sensations. 

    Over time, it was amazing to watch her become capable of treating herself as a precious being, as well as championing herself through life’s challenges

    Collectively, we’re witnessing the need for an evolution of human consciousness that will give us expanded capacity to handle the challenges of the deeply complex world we find ourselves in. 

    Ritual can be a powerful ally in this quest.

    For the first time, the scientific and mystical worlds are actually converging and ritual sits sweetly in this meeting place. The ancient understanding of the universe as an organic intelligence is aligning with a scientific worldview that is revealing a universe consisting of interrelated energy fields that transcend ordinary space/time limitations. 

    Ritual is poised to become a powerful meaning-making language that can bridge between the seen and the unseen worlds, helping us to upgrade how we live, love and lead in our everyday lives. And it is a homebase language of a Mysterial. 

    Daily Re-Mothering Ritual for Self-Compassion and Resilient Leadership

    Image: Gun Legler

    This ritual helps you to:

    • mother yourself
    • make space to listen to your feelings and respond to them
    • listen to your body and respect its limits
    • listen to your intuition
    • welcome your creativity
    • protect yourself by making decisions that support your well-being

    Does your inner mother know best?! This ritual shows us that, yes, she pretty much always does.

    Just as you would with a child, this process of inner mothering needs to be cultivated as a regular part of your daily morning experience.

    1. Ask yourself the following question:

    “What do you need and want today that will allow you to feel a sense of love, safety, well-being and belonging?”

    2. Allow your Being (the totality of your body, heart, mind and spirit) to respond. You may be surprised by what she says, either through quiet inner words, feelings, intuitive impressions, or subtle energy moving in your body.

    3. Embody the archetype of the ‘wise Mother’, and translate the desire into something that is doable today. For example, if you’re longing for a day off to luxuriate in a spa and you know you need to work, you might suggest a compromise: a soak in your tub in the evening.

    Examples of Being Desires:

    • I need 15 minutes of quiet time alone today.
    • I need my shoulders to be massaged.
    • I want to be with good friends and feel a deep sense of belonging.
    • I need a nap this afternoon followed by a cup of hot tea.
    • I want a hot bubble bath at the end of the day with soft music playing.
    • I need a hot sweaty workout.
    • I want to laugh and tickle my son.
    • I want to walk barefoot on the beach.
    • I want to prepare a great meal and share it with my family.
    • I want to share a story with my friends on social media.
    • I want to work in my garden for a bit today.
    Image: Tristan Elwell

    Your learning will accelerate if you take a few minutes to journal about your experiences. What did your Being call you to do? What change, if any, did you notice in yourself after you satisfied your Being desire? How might that affect how you approach tomorrow or the rest of the week?