Politics taught me a lot. In hindsight, politics helped raise me, taught me to always tell the truth, stand with conviction and that when I show up with authenticity people value what I have to say. Politics also pushed me in ways I could never imagine, stretching me and, at times, cutting me to my core. When I think about the decade that I spent living and working in politics I feel like I have done it all. Late night pizza manning the war room, deploying our statewide elections protection teams to monitor ballot counting statewide, sitting on a stage in Lima, Peru with heads of state waxing philosophical about how collective sub-national jurisdictional action can create a huge impact in combating climate change. I cried in an out-dated phone booth in the Oregon State Capitol when legislators tried to gut a bill I had fought so hard for over a period of six years. Looking colleagues in the eye, cracking jokes, maintaining wit and grace, sometimes successfully and sometimes not as we strategized our way into what we thought were answers to heal the world. I have fought like hell for what I believe is the betterment of our world, made a real difference in people's lives, and participated in starting to shift our economy, proving up a path not often chosen for its scary newness and risk. I also drank to much, struggled against my path and shadow, felt depleted and, at the worst of times, as though my life's work were all for not.
Over the course of the last year I began to realize the need for a slight shift in my integrated life work. I have slowly begun to dig out unread books, opened myself up to understanding things like how my menstrual cycle flows under the guidance of the moon, that I have a healer inside of me with things to say and a desire to show up in my life and in my community. I looked for a new job, started my own business and decided to spend more time with my family. This change has allowed me to dive more deeply into who I am and what I want in this life. It's allowed me to feel for the first time ever what it means to work, to do the things that I love, the things that fill me up and give me great joy, pure unadulterated joy. I get to take. I get to receive. I get to ask a new question each and every day. Dear, Wise Woman within, what shall we do today to achieve ultimate happiness, fulfillment and balance?
In this process I have learned about the divine feminine who has always been with me. I have realized that over the years, she is the one who has guided me, held me, rocked me to sleep, pushed me forward in rooms full of men, given me a voice, an opinion and helped me come into my full adulthood. In my experience working with women and men, I see every day this same potential in each of us. And yet, it's often something that we feel like we can't talk about, that we can't bring into our lives or work places, between the water cooler and the board meeting. Women throughout my career have often pulled me aside to ask me, "What is it?" "What is what?" I used to answer back. "How are you so you? How do you kick so much ass and navigate these boys clubs, climb so high, have a personality, speak up?" What their really asking me is how to be authentic, to bring their full selves forward each and every day, have the confidence to say what they mean and mean what they say, and not just get a job but find work that truly allows them to fly.
My story is not unique. And, while the journey has been everything from magical to incredibly difficult, it is not an elusive thing that I get to have and you don't. You have the power to empower yourself to be who you want to be and do what you want to do -- to be the Isis, staking out her ground. So, let's f*!$&*ng do this. Let's do IT. The BIG IT.