On Being A Renaissance Woman

I'm writing this on the eve of the last full moon of 2016, another super moon, which means the moon is closer to the earth and looks bigger than usual.   It's that time of year where we are heading towards the Winter Solstice and Christmas, the time for reflection and noticing whether our hopes and dreams were realised and we look to the future of what the coming year will bring.

Back in January I was having some personal coaching sessions with Rose Long who I met on the F**k It Do What You Love Retreat in October 2015, and in one session she described me as a Renaissance Woman.   I wasn't too sure what this meant even though the words tugged at my heart and they have stayed with me throughout the year.  It feels appropriate that at this time of full moon manifesting I am preparing to promote my own Renaissance Woman retreat in Italy for September 2016.

I've pondered on what it means to be a Renaissance Woman in the 21st Century,  I've researched the words, I've explored my own self.   And I feel ready to claim myself as a Renaissance Woman.

I've been to Italy twice this year, yet it wasn't until my second visit and staying in Assisi that it hit me between the eyes that I was in a Renaissance town, the home of St Francis.  And that I was visiting San Francisco on three occasions this year for my teacher training in Expressive Arts.  And San Francisco has a large Italian population and is Italian for St Francis.  All these connections were made in an unconscious way, and all these visits were about developing my intuitive arts practice. 

Assisi was a home coming.  I felt I had been there before in another lifetime.  The city is staggeringly beautiful and I struggle to find the words to do it justice.   Medieval art appears on the street walls like graffiti, some forerunner to Banksy.  The architecture is stunning and the stone is white and rose so when the sun sets the walls are coloured pink.  It is simply breathtaking.

I studied the Renaissance at school and later as part of my degree in History, where I took an option in Ancient and Medieval Philosophy.  At the time of the Renaissance much attention was given to the antiquities, to Plato, Aristotle and others.  We see the development of humanism, which I explored in a different way as part of my training in psychotherapy.  Mathematics included the study of sacred geometry and the divine order of the universe, which came into my life a couple of years ago when I began creating mandalas and following the cycles of the moon.  As a child I always loved Spirograph and kaleidoscopes.

The descriptor Renaissance Man (in a patriarchal society it wasn't applied to women) was used to signify accomplishment, talent and expertise across many disciplines.  

The word Renaissance is French and literally means Rebirth, and this fascinates me.  I believe that a Renaissance is taking place right now, and it is about the rise of women, the rise of the divine feminine, the goddess archetypes in all of us.  It is about accessing creativity and valuing our intuition.  Maybe it's the company I keep, maybe it's because I am getting older and moving into my crone years, but I sense a rising up in women for something better in the world, and that many women want to serve and make a difference, which the desire to 'do what you love' taps into.  I've worked in the corporate world all my life and it is an increasingly unhappy place to be for many people, be they men or women.

I've gone through my own rebirth over the last three years, and like any birth, it's been messy at times.   In the last week of my Expressive Arts Teacher Training in November I was given heart-warming feedback about my mini-workshop along with the message that this was the work I should be doing.  I said that being the High Priestess for a Full Moon ceremony was my alter-ego and I was stopped in my tracks when one of my colleagues said "No Lynn, your corporate woman is your alter-ego".  

2016 has been a year of exploration and travel (another Renaissance theme), self discovery and learning (more Renaissance themes).  I've come to recognise that I am good at holding space for others, of allowing others to Be and to drop into their own Being.  My ability to help women develop their own self-confidence has come into focus, especially through my experience as a mentor to young women through the Aspire Foundation.  And if I look back over my career as a leader I can see how many women I have helped to identify their own talents and strengths so that they realise their own potential, long before I became a Gallup Certified Strengths Coach.

I can't thank Rose enough for calling me a Renaissance Woman.  It has led me to explore the many aspects of who I am, what I do, and what it means for me to be a Woman.  I feel very excited about 2017 and my head is teeming with ideas about how I can make a difference in the world by supporting women as they move through their own transitions as Renaissance Women.

Let me know what it means to you to be a Renaissance Woman.


My BIG adventure

This is my third attempt at creating this post.  I first wrote it on Thursday night just before travelling to San Francisco. I clearly didn't save it properly, so the heading appeared and not the content.  I'm now writing this from my hotel room and I've just lost the second draft!! Third time lucky?

I arrived yesterday and love the vibe of San Francisco.  In attempt to adjust to the time zone I stayed up as long as possible.  My hotel is close to Fisherman's Wharf so I spent the evening wandering along Pier 39, taking photos of the bay and the city skyline.  This place feels warm and welcoming.  I am reminded of Brighton, including the hills!  Oh those hills! Crossing the city is one giant roller coaster.  I'm sure the hills are at a 45° angle!  The inclines are incredible.  I was in a minibus shuttle from the airport with the maddest of drivers who took breathtaking risks.

I still can't quite believe I am here.  In the preceding weeks I have tormented myself with fear and doubt. Had I not paid my fees I would have cancelled.  And I was full of anxiety about ridiculous things, such as travelling alone (I've done this so many times before), the distance, the flight, missing the flight (wishful thinking), not getting a seat (more wishful thinking), not coping with jet lag, not knowing how to get to the hotel, crazy making stuff. Imagine my horror at Heathrow T5 when the self service check in system said I didn't have seat.  Had my wish not to go come true?  I was allocated a seat by the check in staff and what a beauty it was!  Loads of space and leg room.  During my 11 hour flight I read Girl On A Train in its entirety, and it's a great read.

Over and over again since March I've asked myself why I am doing this?   What on earth possessed me to sign up for Chris Zydel's teacher training in Expressive Arts? (www.creativejuicesarts.com)

My fear is the fear of the unknown which is countered by an even greater desire, the sense of a calling.  The calling trumps the fear.  I took an online Spreecast with Chris about Resistance in which she said resistance often masks a want, a yearning, a soul calling. The greater the resistance the greater the calling. So true!  I've spent weeks (a lifetime?) grappling my demons of "not good enough" and "who do you think you are, you're not an *artist*".  Imposter syndrome has been alive and kicking.

I reflected on how often I've helped others to overcome their fears, to develop their self-confidence.  And I do have courage.  So why is this different?  I have a sense of the importance of this journey.  It's more than a physical journey.  It's about coming home to me, even if I am travelling half way round the world to do it. That's commitment, and it's a commitment to my self.  Without wanting to sound cheesy I have a sense of The Hero's Journey, how we embark on an adventure not really knowing where it will take us or where we will land, and that we will return changed.  I feel I am stepping through a portal, a gateway.  And in doing so I will meet a deep longing, such that I make a difference to myself and will be enabled to make a difference to others in their journeys.


When dreams come true

I've had an awesome couple of weeks.  So many things happening.  I've spent most of my time open mouthed and shaking my head in disbelief. 

I guess we can spend so much time dreaming, planting seeds, watching and waiting, never quite believing the effort would bear fruit.  Which is silly really.  A dream only remains a dream when there is no action.  And I've been busy in pursuit of my dream.   I've worked hard.  Yet the turning of a dream into reality still feels like waking up on Christmas Day to find that Santa has been and left your longed for present.

How often do we pay attention to our dreams, our longings, our yearnings?   How often do we say "when I win the lottery"? 

It's so easy to set aside our dreams through the hurly burly of life, to prioritise other more pressing matters, as time pitter patters by.  And then we reach a milestone birthday and wonder where the time went? Or maybe, like me, there is a life crisis, something happens to make you reconsider.  

How many of us go through life never really knowing what we want? Never truly connecting with our passions and purpose?  Or feeling trapped and stuck, unable to bring a dream to reality, not knowing where to begin?

It was many, many years ago when a therapist said to me, " Lynn, you are so much more than your job".  It took me nearly 20 years to understand what she meant.