It was the last of our 36 calls in my 1 year mentorship program with Embody founder, Nadia Munla. We were in that sweet spot of looking back and celebrating all that had unfolded, as well as looking forward to what was on the horizon. She invited me to move through this transition with the intention of Co-creation.
Co-creation, with you know, God.
Instead of relying on myself to identify all the opportunities, come up with all the plans, and execute it all, co-create: leave space to be guided and led, with a commitment to show up and do my part whatever that might look like.
This was a big deal for me. I’m a spreadsheet and 5 year-plan kinda gal. Or at least I was.
I’ve prided myself on being able to map out the strategy and project plan it to a T. In my corporate life, I excelled at seeing what needed to be done to move the organization forward, and masterminded new policies and programs into place.
As I tried replicating this way of working over the past 6 years, venturing into a field that is much more aligned with who I am, I started to dry up. Which led to this invitation to surrender all my visions, plans, and ego-led doing, and open myself up to guidance as to where to direct my efforts.
I was willing, in fact ready. But even though I was so tired of the rinse and repeat pattern of building up momentum around a creative project or event that I concocted, only to crash and burn without the stamina to see it to completion, the idea of handing over the reins was still scary.
What if I was pointed in a direction that felt edgy and outside my comfort zone? What if I was asked to say or do something that opened me up to criticism? What if the visions and dreams planted in me were bigger than I could handle?
Oh wait, those are the same fears that have gotten me to where I am. So what have I got to lose this time?
Our call ended and December 20th rolled around, the start of another 40 day cycle for me, which also coincided with the winter solstice and when I arrived in Australia. Synergies. ‘This is gonna be a good one.’, I thought.
I have a ritual I’ve been using since April that jump-starts each 40 day cycle. I use it as incentive to clean and tidy up my yoga/prayer/creative/work room (my version of a she-shed), put on some singing meditations, gently move my body, pull some Moon Deck cards, and journal about how they speak to my heart.
Just for the record, I can’t quite believe I am telling you this, let alone doing this for myself. I come with a deep imprint and conditioning that says using any media outside of the Bible for guidance counts as devil worship. It’s taken lots of baby steps to trust the nudge to expand my spiritual toolbox beyond one singular go-to.
I’ve always had a hard time hearing and listening to ‘spirit’. I can easily confuse my monkey mind with divine messages, and yet I long to hear and be guided by a power greater than me. As I’ve tiptoed towards a wider range of practices, I found that when my body and its senses are engaged, I have an easier time connecting to what I call God. It’s then that I can bring the mind back on board.
So, embracing a more embodied experience of co-creation, I upped the ante a bit for this 40 day cycle. Asked a kundalini teacher for a kriya to work with, brought some clearer questions to my Moon Deck card pulling, and borrowed my mom’s meditation book, Jesus Calling.
I went into this co-creation phase with 2 questions:
- What is it you want from me? Ie What can I offer the world, or do in service?
- What is it you want to give me? Ie What gifts or blessings do you want me to receive?
The two cards I pulled were Sisterhood, and Strength. While I accepted them with a healthy skepticism, letting time tell if these were indeed the key ingredients for this phase of co-creation, I also had to laugh at the first one.
Because there I was sitting in my sister’s spare room, my shelter for the past 3 weeks, and as you might guess, we know exactly how to get under each other’s skin.
Yet there was the invitation to cultivate a deeper bond with her anyway. Ugh.
My sense was that the invitation was not just about my biological sister. I was on my way to spend Christmas with a close friend of mine in Australia, and from there, back to family, then to a house full of women I had never met as we embarked on Rachel Maddox’s trauma resolution program, and finally wrapping up this trip with a few days with Nadia and another Embody sister as we facilitated an Embody class for 100+ women.
This 40 day period was gonna be full of progesterone, estrogen, and a gajillion other hormones. The timing of this message was spot on, and I could feel my body stiffen.
Stiff and rigid: that’s been my natural way of surviving in groups of women. Put on the rough and tough armour so you can’t get hurt. Stay self-sufficient so you can’t get let down.
I don’t do hugs. I don’t spend time doing my hair. I’m not a girly-girl.
This is the mask I’ve adopted over the years. It’s suited me just fine and even though my edges have softened a little as deeper friendships have formed with individual women, in general, sisterhood is not my bag.
Yet here I was being asked by my new business and life partner, God, to somehow get over myself and try out this Sisterhood thing. I think the exact message was to remember that, “we all reflect the divine in each other.”
Believe me, it’s been hard to remember everyone’s divinity when I don’t feel my needs are being met and my inner Little Girl starts having a freak out.
Yet remembering their and my divinity has also been a blessing. The more I saw my relational challenges as a chance for me to deepen our connection and attempt to be a ‘sister’ anyway, the more I was able to see their brilliance, instead of getting caught up in the annoyances.
This 40 day cycle is coming to a close and as much as I have tried to be a sister to each woman I have spent time with, I have received so much more. Mostly a sense of belonging. Not because we have identical personalities and all liked the same things, but because we each bring our own unique self to the community. Different strokes, different strengths, and together we created something new and beautiful.
Like, for instance, the quilt that my sister and sister-in-law pulled together for my niece in just 36 hours (along with some rocking Rainbow Italian cookies!). That quilt would still be a pile of baby clothes for at least another 6 months before I even got around to decided which patchwork pattern to use, and for sure I would not have attempted making those treats from my heritage on my own, no matter how much pleasure they bring me.
This belonging and co-creation with my sisters happened over and over. Whether just the thing I needed was provided for in generous gifts, free rides, mi casa es su casa hospitality, moon-lit skinny dipping in the ocean, dance parties on the beach, or yoga in the morning, I realized that I could easily have done all these things on my own, but they were so much more fulfilling with a sister. My life is richer for it.
The part that I am most in awe of, is that here I was being asked to ‘give’ Sisterhood, which I took to mean, ‘be there for them’, and yet I received that gift ten times over. They were all there for me.
A lesson that, you can listen to the call and offer what you’re asked to, and trust that you will receive what you need in return, even if its not in the way you originally expected.
I’m sharing this story with you on a new moon, a time to create a new intention. This is the first new moon of the year, and I’ll leave you with this: If you started off your year with a strategy, or goal, and beautifully mapped out plans, and they’re no longer feeling right, maybe you’re also being invited to surrender and step into the flow of co-creation.
You can use this new moon to begin again. I recommend that you experiment with this in a way that feels doable and isn’t going to throw your nervous system into high alert or shutdown.
Maybe your version of surrender is going for a walk 3 times a week without your phone, creating space to listen.
Maybe it’s reserving Saturday or Sunday as a tech-free non-work day.
Or taking 10 minutes and moving to a beautiful song.
It doesn’t matter how you do it; the magic is not in the form or the ritual itself, but the spirit in which you show up.
If the idea of breaking up the year into 40 day cycles feels like a manageable way to create some intention, focus, and sustainable rhythm to flow within, I’ve got a treat for you.
You’re invited to join me for this next 40 day cycle, and we can kick it off together. I’m hosting a free community call this Thursday, January 30th, at 4pm GMT, where you’ll learn about the power of 40 day cycles, and be guided through a co-creation process similar to the one described above.
Sisters and brothers are welcome.
RSVP here. (Can’t join live? Sign up for the recording.)