The Heroine's Journey is an archetypal pattern and structure for deep change and gives us a map to deliberately create our lives. There are four major shifts in the journey.
Shift #1 - The Call
My own heroine’s journey really began ten years ago.
I left my wall street career in New York and we moved to Delaware. I was disillusioned by the greed of this industry and had begun questioning my career choices. I was facing other elemental transitions in my life too. My children were entering high school and I was already experiencing their adult-like independence. I felt a sense of loss as my nurturing and care-giving role to young children was fading. I'd just had a milestone birthday. And then during the holidays, I was watching a lovely holiday movie, and a scene in this movie touched a part of myself that had been long closed. I began sobbing, not really knowing why or even what this particular movie was touching. I now know that this “moment in time” was my call to the journey.
I realized that something inside of me was asking for attention. But what?
Trying to figure out how to respond to this new awareness was both exciting and challenging. I bought tons of books (expanding to book titles that resonated yet were way outside of my current, very corporate library), I jumped into one personal growth program after another searching for something that would allow this inner voice to be met. Each stop led to a referral to another stop. I had good and bad experiences and knew that I was ready for change.
Shift #2 - Meeting Mentors and Teachers
One of these referrals led to a weekend retreat. I read about the program but really decided to go because I was so drawn to the bio of the facilitator. She described herself as a female shaman and a therapist. I would later learn that she is also a woman of the healing arts. I didn’t know what all of this meant – you don’t hear words like healing in the corporate world and there’s a lot of perceptual fear around “therapy” - but something inside of me wanted to learn more. I spent the weekend in this retreat and was pretty undone by it all to tell you the truth. Afterwards, I reached out to the facilitator for support and in that conversation I was met by someone who'd been where I was going.
A mentor/teacher/guide for the journey is someone who has been on the journey herself. She has done the work to explore her own inner calling and to heal her own past. She brings process, not answers to the conversation. She holds the space for safe exploration and learning. She is compassionate and non-judgmental - gifts that are among the wondrous gifts we can retrieve when we go on our own Journey. (As a side note - I have since learned that not every coach and therapist does this kind of inner work. It's important to know the person who’s guiding you on the trail. You might not want to take a hike up Machu Picchu with a guide who was opening the map for the first time, right?)
Shift #3 - The Journey
Only now was I ready for the journey. I had no idea of the depths that I would go – or that these depths even existed within me.
Today, I am in the transitions that were just ahead of me when I began this journey and through others. And so much more has happened. I have explored many parts of myself. I have integrated new learnings and healing modalities like yoga, meditation, energy work, and creative expression into my personal and professional work.
I have explored and worked on all levels of bodies – the physical, the mental, the emotional, and the spiritual. I experienced the loss of my mother and a job that meant a great deal to me at the same time. I am so glad that my Mentor was with all along the way. And, I have had many healings and closings with old baggage.
When I look back on the past ten years, I realize it is has been like no other decade in my life. I'm not the same person who began the journey. I'm more relaxed, I've learned how to take care of myself and have stopped the cycle of burn-out. I am able to better "sit with" uncomfortable situations. And, I have more peace about who I am. This ten-year journey builds on the structures of my earlier life and I remember sighing a great relief on the day that I realized that every moment of my life had brought me to exactly the point of where this journey began.
Shift #4 - Sharing What’s Been Learned
In the fourth shift of the journey we share what we've learned. In this past year, I began asking myself how I might support other women who would like to deliberately create their lives. How could I share my 25 years of experience in Learning & Leadership Development and Coaching AND all these new learnings, AND offer this level of soul nourishment to other women? The answer came in the form of WomenConnected.net.
WomenConnected.net is Community
On May 31st, 2015 I launched WomenConnected.net. WomenConnected.net is an online community. A place for women who want to create their lives. A place that allows women to step out of the ordinary problems and stresses of life and to have meaningful, intentional conversations about their own growth and contributions in the world. WomenConnected.net is a place where women can feel connected to the larger community of women and where they are able to share the wisdom of each stage of life. WomenConnected.net is a place that can be integrated within a woman’s day-to-day life. There’s no need to jump on an airplane or arrange for hotels. Women can have mini-retreats on a regular frequency – not just the once-a-year big trip. Women can carve out a couple of hours, be met, and then step back into their lives with new awareness.
WomenConnected.net is Development
WomenConnected.net offers a variety of programs for women at different stages of their journey. Once you find a home in the WomenConnected.net community, we hope you will stay and continue evolving and not have to jump to find the next great thing. We hope you will grow with us and use your inner voice to help us further shape the growth of the Community and the programs that are offered.
Development is an embodiment, an experience, of knowing something. We can’t just take a course and be transformed. To allow knowing something to change you, there needs to be a safe container for you to experiment, to learn from failure, and to have life’s ups and downs integrated at a cellular level.
As a Coach, a Leader, and the Founder of WomenConnected.net - this is my commitment to you. Our growing community of teachers/mentors/guides are all women who are continuously doing the work to heal their own wounds. We have taken, and continue to evolve, our own Heroine’s Journey and come back to share our gifts.