The world is changing, and so are you.
It’s true now more than ever: it seems like in the past few years, we’ve been in a sort of accelerated global awakening. We’re waking up to the realities of systemic racism, climate change, and the inequities and abuses of women and trans and non-binary people, to name a few.
All of this systemic shift is also shaking us each, individually, to the core.
It’s like our house is on fire, and we’re trying to decide what to save. What’s most important.
We’re questioning things we’ve never questioned before, like what unhealed narratives we’re passing along to our children, and how we can leverage our privilege to ally ourselves with those who have been systemically denied access to so much of what we take for granted. We’re questioning the ideas of success and career achievement that late capitalist patriarchy has convinced us we should adopt and pursue. We’re seeking deeper spiritual meaning, unhooking from “busy” as a way of defining personal worth, and realizing the myopic impact (both literally and figuratively) of living a disembodied life in front of a tiny screen.
The thread that runs through each of these awakenings is that they all call us to change. To transform our identities, our perspectives, our ways of being, our behaviours, our skills.
And so it is that we are traversing a radical transformation that is both collective and individual.
And so it is that you are not alone
if it feels like your house is on fire and you’re trying to decide what to save.
It starts, as all infernos do, with a spark. A catalyst. A Call to Attention.
For some women, The Call comes with urgency and immediacy. Lucy Pearce, in her book Burning Woman, describes women’s call into their feminine power – the power of embodiment, intuition, complexity, presence, and emotion that seems to be an inextricable part of our collective awakening right now – this way:
“for many burning women, the initiation to feminine power comes in a baptism of fire: a bolt from the blue, which burns to the ground their previous identities whether they are ready or not. For some it comes in the form of seriously, debilitating illness, for others it has been the death of a loved one, a public burning of shame, heartbreak, disaster at work, a car crash…leaving the woman reeling, her previous identity in ashes.”
I first started doing the work I’m doing now because, as a doula, I was witnessing women – myself included – experience The Call through their transition to motherhood. Other women I’ve worked with have heard The Call in the form of an acute burnout or a healing journey, through tectonic shifts in their interpersonal relationships, or in the form of loss and grief, to name a few. In the past handful of months alone, I’ve witnessed time and time again the catalyzing force that the pandemic has had on our lives. Sometimes these kinds of Calls are chosen by us and sometimes for us, but they all hold tremendous potential to wake us up.
For others, The Call is subtler, arriving in a series of “dis’s.” That’s how I’ve come to refer to William Bridges’, author of Transitions: Making sense of life’s changes, way of describing catalysts for change: disengagement, disidentification, disenchantment, disorientation, and, as I always add in because of how I’ve witnessed its’ relevance especially for women, disembodiment. This kind of catalyst feels a bit like a grey fog – it’s not necessarily acute in its transformative power but rather creeps over you gradually, quietly morphing your perspective. Women experiencing this kind of Call find themselves saying “I don’t know who I am anymore,” “I can’t do this anymore,” or “this is not how I thought this would be.”
If The Call or the catalyzing moment that we experience individually is the spark, then the world we’re living in today is the accelerant. I’ve noticed, moreso than ever, that the women I coach with are feeling a sense of urgency. If, two or five or ten years ago we might have forged ahead, kept our heads down, followed the rules, ignored the yearning or the injustice or the curiosity or the pain, now it feels like that is no longer an option.
And, perhaps, it’s not.
Because now more than ever, our world needs people who have heeded The Call. The world needs us awake and aware and evolving. The world needs us deeply engaged in our individual and collective healing, in meaningful and contributive work, in social justice, in community-building, in deconstructing harmful cultural narratives, in joining hands and finding courage and stepping in. Because our house is on fire. And because, not unlike the famous quote by Lilla Watson, your transformation is bound up with mine. Your transformation is bound up with the transformation of the world.
May you find the capacity to hear The Call. May you find the courage to heed it. May you find one of The Others, one of the millions who have also Heard, and walk together into the fire.
If you’ve heard The Call and want a guide and mentor to walk with you through the radical transformation you’ll traverse as you heed it, I can help.
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