15 years ago, a friend asked what my life purpose was.
At the time I was in college full time while running a small eco-friendly cleaning company in Seattle. I served in the Air National Guard at least one weekend each month and spent my free time working out and volunteering as a coach with Girls On The Run, a non-profit organization whose mission it is to “inspire girls to be joyful, healthy and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum which creatively integrates running.” I had also just returned from northeast Thailand where I had volunteered at a girls’ orphanage playing and speaking English with girls ranging in age from six or seven to late teens. My life was full of impassioned pursuits and adrenal-busting activity levels. I was doing all I could to sort out leftover pain and tortured emotions stemming from an abusive childhood, while seeking security and validation from the outside world.
I told my friend that I was here to “help young girls find their way”. I had made a lot of progress in my own life and naturally inspired friends and acquaintances along the way when I shared myself authentically. I was in my mid-twenties at the time and only felt qualified to help those on the path behind me find their way to a greater sense of wholeness and well-being. At the time these were “young girls” to me, like high school and younger.
When my friend and client asked what I thought my purpose was, I was caught in the mire of a patriarchal paradigm that required full activation of my masculine side while suppressing my feminine. I lived in a competitive world where my business sense was valued while my intuitive sense was dismissed as “woowoo” or imaginative, while “facts and figures” equated with truth. I lived in a world that required a constant, high-energy output on a regular work-schedule regardless of the season, my health, or where I was in my cycle. I lived in a world where I was pitted against my peers and my drive was valued. I made spreadsheets instead of art. I thought training for marathons was an act of selfcare, instead of the start of an adrenal crash, as I see it now. I counted money instead of blessings. I was hustling hard to establish a sense of physical security without an opportunity to rest and restore. Because of this, my psyche was disintegrated and I was out-of-touch with my own gifts and passions. I have spent the last 15 years dismantling that world and moving into alignment with who I am at my core. And, who is that?
Yes, of course I believe that I am infinite source consciousness, one with all and nothing, one with the ineffable G-O-D. BUT, on this plane and in this reality, I am pretty identified with Stephanie who loves yoga, art, poetry, healthy meals, reading, writing, sharing, dancing, praying, animals, watching the moon and all of nature, nourishing and working with women at my retreats. And that is the life that I have worked to create for myself, a life built from the inside-out, in alignment with who I am.
This didn’t happen by accident; I have been cultivating it for as long as I have been “doing the work” to search my soul and release old programming ~ misguided beliefs that kept me locked into a competitive mindset, led me to join the military, get a business degree, pursue a money and ego motivated career, date the wrong men, etc, etc. It took a lot of clearing to make space for more of my authentic spirit to emerge and I’m still clearing that space. Alignment is not a destination but a practice for living.
When I answered my friend about purpose, I didn’t have the words at the time but was searching for something along the lines of “women’s work”. Now that some time has passed and more of my life has unfolded, I’m beginning to see that my path has been typical within the rise of the divine feminine.
Recently I have come across people, books, retreats, and workshops that keep pointing me to this energy rising within the collective conscious field that has been activating the minds and hearts of women everywhere, calling us to rebalance the masculine and feminine energies as they are manifesting in our own lives and among the larger collective of society. The rise of the divine feminine is also calling conscious men to look within and allow this softer way of moving through the world to rise up, as they honor and hold the space for this rebalancing. This looks like a shift from control, domination, and greed to freedom of expression, cooperation, and nurturance. This looks like wars ending and a less violent culture. This looks like healthy families thriving with plenty of quality time together. This looks like celebration of and respect for nature, the seasons, and all natural cycles. This looks like healthy emotional relating and communities where we are supported and celebrated for our natural gifts and talents, whatever those are.
Asheville is like nowhere else I’ve ever been. Knowledge of the chakras, archetypes, ancient medicines, and other dimensions seems almost commonplace here. My new circles are aware of and tapped into the same subtle energies and ideas that I am. These parts of my awareness and personality have never found comfort or acceptance as they were always considered “out there” by past friends and family members.
When I answered the mysterious call to relocate to this area, I wasn’t sure what I was doing or why I was here but I’m beginning to see a bigger plan at play. I suspect that I was led here to learn, share, and develop ideas that will evolve my retreats to specifically serve women, bringing a nuance and depth that will spread these ideas and shift perspectives. They will ripple out to affect and help rebalance the energies all around them, serving the collective as well as those who join me on retreat.
I find purpose to be a loaded word and feel that my “purpose” can not be defined. It is simply the result of a life lived in alignment with spirit, a life where whatever work is accomplished comes from a place of inspiration, joy, passion, and synchronicity. But now that I’m really beginning to understand what women’s work is, I’m feeling called to spread the news… it’s time for a new program! It’s time to let the old patriarchal world fall away. It’s time to prioritize our own health, self-care, and expression!
As we individually heal this imbalance within us and move into alignment with our true spirit, so does the world. I am here to hold space for this. I’m here to inspire and ignite. I’m activated and excited and I know there is more here to come.