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
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.