This post is a follow-up from “Why I’m Closing My Business” (November 2014).
I stuck of a forkful of salad greens in my mouth as my friend Emma asked, “How does it feel to have re-opened The Way of the Happy Woman to the public? How was the transition?”
I looked down at my plate of food, chewed a few times, and swallowed. Then I drew in a breath and replied, “The transition’s not over by any means. It’s going to take at least a year– it’s only just begun.”
The shift Emma and I spoke of over lunch last month has been far more challenging than I could ever anticipate. Today I’m going to tell you why.
Before I do, a request: If you wish to be part of our community going forward, please set aside time to read, digest, and respond to this. This isn’t me talking at you (the hierarchical communication we’ve all grown so numb to); it’s the beginning of a much larger collaboration with you. I need your participation.
Over the past several months I’ve been grappling with the struggles I faced last fall that led me to metaphorically close my business:
· The fatigue of spending so much time at the computer
· The stress of sending and receiving never-ending emails and social media notifications
· The disappointment of women ripping off my ideas without even giving me credit
· The necessary purification of my deepest motives for doing this work in the first place
I grappled with the bewilderment of how to offer The Way of the Happy Woman within what feels like an increasingly toxic market. More and more, online businesses seem to be trafficking samsara, or the perpetuation of our suffering, rather our Freedom.
I wondered: Is it possible to share this work in full alignment with my sensitive constitution and core values, or has it all just gotten too corrupt?
Offline and fully immersed in working on my new book, The Book of SHE, in the early part of this year, I felt optimistic. My answer was a resounding Yes. In each page I laid out the world I envision for all of us—one where we regularly assume a sacred orientation to life and take time each day to ask the perennial questions in order to be our best selves, and of greatest service to the world:
Why am I here?
What is the true source of my happiness?
What kind of happiness am I currently invested in pursuing?
How would I act if I fully trusted my feminine wisdom?
When I entered back into communication with you in mid-February, I felt on fire with faith in a new way of doing things. I felt connected to the vision of The Way of the Happy Woman and ready to implement it with more gusto than ever.
My re-entry, however, slammed me with obstacles. Hard. As the days, weeks, and now months, progressed, my fire slowly fizzled. Each day my health steadily declined, despite my best attempts to take exquisite care of myself.
Today I feel just as worn out and fed up as I did back in November when I announced I was going to step away from it all and take space for my replenishment and our rebirth.
To say that this process has been painful, vulnerable, confusing, and disheartening is a radical understatement. It’s brought me to my knees– to the point where, for the first time in my life, I am considering leaving this work and getting a job working for someone else. This crushes me, for this work is my calling. I live and breathe it. That will always be true, even if I don’t continue my calling in this form.
I’ve grown so weary of and disillusioned by the “Me-first!” pestilence in this online realm. It’s become intolerable to me that we live in a world where we’re told we need to constantly be plugged in to succeed. Where power struggles and the cult of the celebrity reign. Where big, online egos are training others to be big, online egos. Where selfies make you successful, attending a trendy event or showing off your crystals makes you spiritual, and putting endless photos of yourself doing yoga in sexy outfits on Instagram makes you a yogini.
I have no interest in any of these things. In fact, I believe they not only stand in the way of our true happiness, but that they are the core contributors to our deepest suffering. This is my own direct experience and that which I hear and witness again and again from all the women I work with.
There are so many of us striving to put our work out into the world. Our pictures crowd our websites and we can’t stop talking about ourselves. We believe that if we follow the formula that the popular girls are touting, we’ll succeed and finally land in the life we’ve always wanted.
You know: get the right body, the right clothes, the right spouse, the right mastermind group, the right website, the right product and service, the right-sized e-mail list, the right income, the right car (be sure to take a selfie in it!), the right house, the right diet, and the all-important right number of Facebook likes, and you’ll be happy. That’s all it takes!
I’m here to tell you this is all a lie.
When we posture ourselves to showcase only these things, without also revealing the dark underbelly of our humanity, we’re generating and monetizing envy. We’re drawing attention to flashy materiality, rather than the real issues that we all need to face in order to heal and evolve, individually and collectively. We’re doing the same thing that fashion magazines, and the media at-large, has done to us. We’re objectifying ourselves.
Having built a successful online business (at times through my own participation in many of the things I’m calling out here) has not made me happy. It’s only brought on an exhausting frenzy of feeling like I’m on a hamster wheel that I can never get off of.
The more we try to achieve outside of ourselves, the more anxious and disconnected we are from our inner ground. The further we reach, the emptier we feel.
I recently listened to an interview with Seth Godin where he spoke of the myth of Icarus. He said that we often view the real tragedy of this story as Icarus’s hubris of flying too close to the sun. Seth interjected that we, like Icarus, are actually suffering from the opposite. Flying too close to the ocean, our wings getting wet with water and mist, weighing us down. By trying to be The Best, we’re aiming too low.
When we’re constantly online, not taking the time to live a multidimensional life and cultivate our own insights, we’re only ingesting other people’s messages. When we do this, there’s no way we can ever create anything new. Innovation isn’t possible when we’re all swimming in a cesspool of mediocre clones. The world can’t evolve without innovation.
Our wings get wet with all of this comparison, all of this ego posturing, and we don’t soar, we sink. It’s not hubris or unrealistic ambition that does us in; it’s the constant looking to others to fortify our voices of fakery and to size up our diminishing self worth.
I believe there is another way. But I can’t go there alone. Like any successful revolution, this can’t transpire from the top-down. It must rise from the bottom-up. If The Way of the Happy Woman is to survive, thrive, and reach the hearts and lives of the women who most need it, we need to work together.
TIME FOR A GENTLE REVOLUTION
Let’s embrace surrender, interconnectedness, dignity, humility, generosity, and receptivity. Live with fairness and and integrity. Let’s remember the WHY at the heart of The Way of the Happy Woman—to challenge the status quo through preserving and proliferating ancient feminine wisdom by providing women with safe and sacred spaces to come home to themselves and their vulnerability. When we first feel at home in ourselves, we can then feel at home just as we are in the world.
This isn’t my vision–it’s our vision. This isn’t just what I stand for; it’s what we stand for. If you’re part of this community, reading these words right now, then you are already living these principles to some degree.
To more fully implement this vision in the world, it’s time for us to play by a different set of rules.
- To get off our asses and away from our phones and live the lives we really want to live—ones that truly matter
- To stop drinking the toxic Kool-Aid of supporting manipulation, narcissism, and the false belief that happiness comes from exterior gains
- To embrace a new way of being in the world that’s kinder, healthier, and more joyful
- To take our personal power back
Like any true leader, I have a lot more questions than answers. I don’t know what the path forward looks like, but I’m willing to persevere– if you come with me. My experience these past several months has proved to me that I can’t forge this path on my own.
To take our first steps forward, I need to clear the air about a few things that have been weighing me down.
HERE ARE SOME THINGS I NEED YOU TO KNOW ABOUT ME:
- Over the past five years I’ve been embroiled in a deep, inner purification, a Heroine’s Journey (a story I’ll tell in great depth in my new book), in which I’ve confronted some not-so-pretty parts of myself—those that created a business (like most all of us do) for the approval of others. I’ve faced the ways I’ve bought into the corruption that we’re all embroiled in. Sure, some of those pushy voices still live in me. They always will. But they no longer run the show. Now, this work is fully my devotion to Her, The Divine Mother. The arc of my own journey has brought me to a place of surrendering everything to Her. I’ve done all I can as a single human being, and I’m tired of contriving or manipulating outcomes. It’s a daily practice for me to stand in the fire and choose this orientation.
- I’m a highly sensitive introvert. Please don’t take it personally or criticize me if I don’t reply to your emails. I love hearing from you and encourage you to write. I’m not being a snob by not answering all these myself; doing so is not sustainable for me. It has reached the point where it damages my health and impinges upon the inner spaciousness I need in order to be able to offer this work in its highest integrity. I have a highly competent (and friendly!) assistant who lovingly replies to your emails, and this allows me to fully show up for you as a teacher through the various programs I offer.
HERE’S HOW I NEED YOUR HELP:
- Be the living expression of The Way of the Happy Woman. Remember that the answer already lives within you. Take space to find and listen to it, rather than always grasping for external solutions.
- Give credit where credit is due. Please don’t take one of my programs and then create one just like it. This is stealing. Please give credit where credit is due (for me or anyone else from whom you draw inspiration). I share this not in the spirit of competition, pettiness, or anger, but in fairness and integrity, woman-to-woman. So much of my teaching involves us supporting each other, fully and plainly, in a world that has not done so. I request that we respect and honor each other’s work so that we all can thrive. I acknowledge that there’s nothing new under the sun, there’s only novel ways of organizing and presenting ideas. There is a big difference between integrating someone else’s teachings (and paying those teachers respect by giving them credit when referring to their bodies of work) with your own insights (this is how I’ve crafting this body of work) and creating your own unique expression from that verses making a clone of someone else’s program. I trust we can all sense that difference within ourselves. The former I wholeheartedly support, the latter I don’t.
- Say no to manipulative marketing tactics and leaders who use “Lifestyle Envy”. I don’t want to play the marketing game of fear and scarcity and manipulative language that presses emotional buttons —and I know that you don’t either. I’ve never fully embraced these. Rather, I have always tried to navigate the “middle way” of being myself in a way that can be financially sustaining. I always promise to share my deepest insights, from my heart, in a way that will best serve you and all women. I ask you to stay awake to the kinds of communication that are stemming out of fear-tactics, emotional manipulation, envy-baiting, or just plain sleepy consumerism.
I am beyond grateful for being in community together. I couldn’t be doing this work without you, and there’s not a day that goes by when I don’t acknowledge that. I value each and every one of you, and I share all of this in order to make us an even stronger community.
This stage isn’t mine. It’s ours. I believe that all of this technology can be used to share and spread feminine nurturance to all beings, rather than our single egos, if we shift our orientation to it.
Let’s use this stage to express the happiness that springs forth from discovering, and living from, our innermost nature.
ARE YOU IN?
If so, WAKE UP! Take action! Share your voice by posting a comment below. Spread the message by sharing this article and why it impacted you (using the “share” buttons below), or move forward in another way that feels right and true– for you.
This is a platform for all of us to question the status quo and to be our best selves.
With love and fiery respect,