The “Wounds Work”: How to be Visible the Feminine Way
“The Art of Feminine Marketing”…. The words slipped past my tongue.
I felt a shiver of excitement. My eyes filled with tears, a sign that I had hit on a truth.
The Art of Feminine Marketing was sending a call. Would I be the one to birth her into the world?
Like any birth, there was a period of development. This was not something I could rush. Each piece unveiled itself in the correct timing. Mentors, teachers, and unseen help arrived at the perfect moment.
And I said, yes,yes. Then I found the resources and the time to birth this new way of doing business.
At the same time, Lindsay A. Miller was evolving her business as well.
I knew Lindsay as the premier photographer in the self-development and coaching industry.
She had done my head shots, making me feel, for the first time ever, comfortable in front of the camera. Actually beautiful. I knew she had special magic.
Wildly Visible was calling to her.
And my sweet soul-sister was listening.
When we found ourselves in deep conversation one day, I knew that it was meant to be.
The Feminine is collaborative, she works best in community, in a spirit of inclusiveness and spaciousness and abundance. She is seeking partnerships that enrich all they touch.
The Art of Feminine Marketing and Wildly Visible were asking to dance together.
“It begins,” I said, “with the wound. Within our childhood wounds are the keys who we are here on the planet to serve, how we are uniquely designed to serve them, and the language that will lead them to us. Within the wound is the key to magnetic marketing.”
“The wound,” said Lindsay, “is a holy thing. Let’s honor and memorialize it. Let’s bring it out of the shadows and into the light. Let’s give our women the space to experience it fully and embrace it’s glory.”
This was a new way of looking at wounds.
The old paradigm was to either stuff it down and “get over it” or send it love and “get over it”.
We said yes.
And brought the women in my program together to mine their wounds, to memorialize their wounds.
And there was more. Once the wounds had been mined, they lost their sting.
The women, over the course of the next few months of coaching, began to see what was possible for them. Without the shadow of woundedness they began to experience their true power.
A woman in her power is a magnificent thing. She can achieve whatever she sets her mind to, with grace and ease letting go of any struggle or heavy push.
This too deserved to be recognized, needed to be memorialized.
This too was part of what made these women extraordinary business women, healers, coaches, teachers. That they had access to the wisdom of their wounds, and the potency of their inner fire.
We whisked the women away to places like New Orleans, Salem Massachusetts and Kauai for a second photo shoot.
This time we captured their Divine Feminine Essence.
The queen, the sorceress, the white witch. The energy was magic as the women welcomed lost parts of themselves home, reclaimed their power and put a stake in the ground for their mission. These experiences became the foundations of their marketing.
I invite you to drink in their beauty and their power, for it is a reflection of your own beauty and power.
For Becky’s wound we photographed the Demanding Manipulative Bitch.
“This is the part of me that seams to scare people.” Becky said. “It scares them so much that I have shrunk and hidden her away. I have tempered that part of me most of my life, calling her a demanding and manipulative bitch.”
In the shoot we found that Becky really wanted to be witnessed in her rawness and authenticity. There was a deep sadness and frustration just beneath the surface.
She really wanted to be understood. She wanted her work to be acknowledge for it’s power. She wanted to be fully present as the Source-erous she is. Powerful, magnificent, wise.
But when she expressed all of who she was, people had called her demanding. People had accused her of being manipulative.
Those words stung deeply and she carried them in her heart, holding back her magic for fear of being misunderstood.
So we let her rage.
I stood just in front of her, Lindsay shooting over my shoulder, as Becky cried and threw punches.
She pushed and asked for more time.
We gave her what she needed.
We stayed present to this part of Becky for a long time, knowing there was a deeper and deeper part that wanted to be seen.
The other women stepped back and grew silent.
Becky, in her power, was awe-inspiring.
And then Magic happened!
As she felt seen she was able to soften.
And so, for the Rise of the Feminine shoot a Gentle Fierce Empress was able to rise. This was the part that we photographed in the second shoot.
She stopped traffic in the middle of the French Quarter as people stared. She quietly commanded the eye to look, the breath to still, the heart to sigh.
“I was able to sit in power and not say “Why are you not seeing me?”” Becky reported. “She just is. Powerful. Magnetic. Calm. That people could just be drawn to me in my power – it was a Relief. A full breath of who I am.”
For Jen the first shoot was really difficult.
“I don’t want to be seen,” she said.
Jen was struggling with self-hate. She didn’t like her body, didn’t feel she was living up to her potential, couldn’t gain momentum.
But Jen is one of the most courageous women I know.
We asked her to strip down to her soul. To be fully in the pain of not feeling lovable, of not loving herself.
And she did.
She even took a knife into the photo shoot, pressing the side of the cold blade against her skin.
I watched as Jen saw the photos for the first time. The way her face softened in compassion for the woman in the photos. The way she gently touched her thighs thanking them for supporting her. Touched her belly, thanking it for carrying her daughter.
Since that moment I’ve been honored to guide her as she put into place structures to support her goals, gained momentum in her business, stood in the truth that Source has infinite love for her.
When we did the second photo shoot I saw Jen let the city take her.
Having broken free of shame and self-hatred she passionately embraced her womanly shape and her feminine essence.
She sighed in delight, adorned in silk and lace. In the sigh we saw the feminine rise in Jen. Fearless, powerful, sexy and sweet. Vibrating with a passion that will right the world.
Ellen was not excited to do a ‘wounds photo shoot’.
“I don’t want ugly pictures!” she stormed when we explained what was going to happen.
As a child, Ellen felt like the ugly girl in the group. She didn’t get the frilly dresses and the white Mary Jane shoes. She didn’t have bouncy blond curls.
During the shoot she curled up in a ball. Then she stood up and shook her fists.
We howled. She glared at us. There might have been curse words hurled.
Her wound, being an invisible, worthless dog, growled. All the anger of not being noticed rolled out.
And then, something shifted.
She barked. Then laughed.
And we all howled together, joyfully, a pack of wild women.
The next morning we previewed the photos.
Lindsay and I were worried. We wanted Ellen to feel good.
And she cried when she saw them. “I love them. I love that woman.” She said.
She softened in self-love. Something in her healed. She came alive.
For the second shoot, we asked her to go further. To be fully alive and present in her skin.
She hesitated, and said yes.
At first it was awkward. And shot by shot I watched her drop into her body, more fully present, more alive.
Without any frilly dress or fancy shoes she was transformed into the goddess she was born to be. I FELT the real Ellen.
Ellen, the natural beauty emerged.
I was transfixed.
This woman knows how to turn anything into beauty.
That men only wanted her for sex. That her worth was how men could use her, and that she was a weak, worthless slut.
In her head, she knew differently. But deep inside, the wound was slowly killing her. It locked her up in an invisible dungeon, and she buried her gift far underneath. And with that the goddess that we sometimes caught glimpses of on the edge of our vision, had also been shut out and buried under layers of protection.
It makes me cry. I can to see this little girl being shown that her only value is in her body. This little girl represents the collective of little girls. It represents me, it represents you. And I can feel the sadness of all of us collectively.
In the second shoot something we couldn’t’ imagine came out of Mary.
We had photographed her weak, worthless slut.
Now we were about to photograph her as her Goddess of Love.
Mary was drawn to a black mask. For her it represented the identity of her sadness, the identity of being a weak, worthless slut. Of covering up her true beauty to be safe.
In front of the camera unfolded this beautiful ritual of seeing the attachment to them, and the grief and anger of letting go of these false identities.
We were all in tears.
“I was finally done with what was the old normal way,” Mary said.
Mary showed us the tears and the anger. And when she rose, SHE ROSE. SHE SHOWN SO BRIGHTLY. Just then a thin ray of light fell just on her, leaving all of us in shadow.
“I cherished the support and felt the Feminine rising! It was empowering to feel an incredible energy. My pain that engulfed me was gone.”
These photographs for me capture what it’s like when we stop running from our wounds. Just for a moment. Just for a day. When we stop, pay attention to them, honor them, and ask them what meaning and purpose they have for us… we are set FREE.
For Kimberly, the wounds work took her right back to her childhood.
Now Kimberly is whip smart, with the skills of a ninja mind warrior. She is a visionary who guides already successful CEOs into their next lane of financial abundance.
She is abundantly successful herself.
She didn’t want to let her small, rebellious inner child out.
She did some stomping around. She pouted a little. (Because our wounded parts will take over if we try to ignore them.)
Then she went for it.
In the middle of an abandoned street she started to throw toys at us.
Her inner little child had a fit. And then she was done. She laughed. She lit up. Joy became a touch stone.
As the little girl in her as felt Kimberly’s love and acceptance, her adult WOMAN has become a magnet for more wealth, more health and more joy. Owl spoke to her, and butterfly.
In the second shoot Kimberly’s deep feminine wisdom came through. She was so captivating that bystanders whispered, “Do we know her?” as they stopped to stare.
Oh, Kimberly, YES. We want more…
“Being visible is terrifying.” Jen wrote after our first experience in 2017. “Regardless of what’s going on inside, I’ve spent a great deal of energy trying to keep the outside looking mellow and in control. When I haven’t been able to keep up the facade, I use humor and self-deprecating behavior to deal with my perceived failures.…
I’ve come to understand that allowing your imperfect human side to be seen does not make you less deserving, or undesirable. It actually reveals your vulnerability to other human beings, which allows you to connect on a level that can lift you up to the point of feeling euphoric.…
There is no greater emotion than being seen, understood, and appreciated for who you really are. And the only way this emotion can be achieved is by being visible.”
My heart melts to read these words.
It is confirmation that this work has huge value.
And they let me know that we had to take the 2018 photo shoots up a notch. The women who had participated in 2017 would find a new wound, we would pull more gifts from them.
The day of the wounds photo-shoot, Jen let me know that her wound was being found out as a fraud. This kept her small and agreeable in every situation.
“If you just do everything they ask, they won’t find out that you are inept.” The wound whispered.
When I heard this, I felt Lindsay sit up straighter, “I have just the right thing for you” she said.
This shoot was not to be Jen as inept. It was Jen swinging to the other side, where she made ALL the rules.
Jen telling Lindsay what to do.
Jen telling me how to support her.
Jen as Dominatrix.
This is actually the mask that many of her clients take on. They are so afraid that the world will find out they are not perfect, that they become demanding, never satisfied, beating themselves up with chains.
When Jen finally let go of trying to please us, we felt her take control, feel control in her body, feel what it is like to demand what you desire, feel power.
When Jen revealed her inner Dom, she released the fraud-wound. It suddenly became ok to be strong, without needing to be perfect.
This was so amazing, and so we were excited to see what Jen would bring to the second shoot.
And then, one day into the second retreat she mis-stepped and broke her foot.
On photo-shoot day she lay in the grass, inept, unable to even stand without support.
We felt her longing.
Longing to serve fully, to be in her power, to do those things, and only those things, that she is meant to do.
We saw her lay down the need to say yes to every request. Her need to prove her worth by doing for others. This too, is the mask her clients wear. Judging themselves for what they do, or don’t do.
When Jen understood this, she knew.
When doing everything for everyone became impossible, she discovered that her BEing is all that is required.
That is the gift she brings her clients.
The sun broke through in her smile.
That was the moment of truth. The real, authentic, powerful Jen shining before us.
I say Yes, Yes, Yes. More of you, Jen. The world needs more of this!
Sometimes the wound is simple, elegant in the way it pushes us, prods us, torments us.
Sometimes, in the face of all the things that are happening in the world, it’s easy to dismiss our own wound.
Get over it, we think. I had a good childhood. This is a small thing.
Yet, it is our thing. And it can be as insidious as the big wounds at keeping us small and hidden .
This was Kimberly’s story.
Whip smart, highly accomplished, with a stellar reputation for helping Silicon Valley companies grow to the next level and beyond.
The thing that kept her constantly chasing the next achievement, never able to just relax and bask in success was the wound.
The word stung.
“No,” she said. “I refuse to be boring.”
This was the first layer of the wound. The layer that had driven her to be extraordinary.
Once the door was opened, she fell into deeper knowing.
“A part of me,” she said. “always thought I was a bad Christian.”
In her head she knew this wasn’t true. This is a woman of true faith. Her connection to God is
actually her greatest tool in creating success.
But the wound nudged her… first with “don’t be boring.” Then when she differentiated herself, when she wasn’t like everyone else, when she was interesting, the wound sought attention a different way.
“Your parents dropped you at the Church door. They didn’t celebrate Christ the way other families did. It is because you are DIFFERENT. Everyone else’s way is right and yours is wrong.”
This is often how the wound works to stretch us in all the ways we need to be stretched in order to learn the skills needed to serve our right people.
Not wanting to be boring pushed Kimberly to do exceptional work that most can’t or won’t.
Which made her different, triggering that wound. And so she deepened her faith, expanded her awareness of what God wants for her, which allowed her to become even more remarkable.
A circle of woundedness that held tremendous gifts.
And once explored, the wounds healed.
Kimberly was able to relax into the knowing that she is simply Beloved of God. And this became the theme of the second shoot.
Kimberly, the beloved, extraordinary bad ass. Nothing else to prove.
Her new motto is simply: Service, Honor, Pleasure
Yes, yes, yes!!!
We want to bask in this with you, Kimberly. Thank you for bringing ALL of You to the world.
For Ellen, the wound came easily. It is a fear that many women in the third act feel.
“I’m afraid to be an old, broke lady,” Ellen said, “with nothing but failed, hair-brained schemes littering my past. I’m afraid that everyone will think I’ve wasted my life. I’m afraid they already think that.”
“I’ll wander around in my nightgown,” she continued, “with a tinfoil hat to keep the aliens out of my brain.”
This was a real fear that not only did Ellen name for herself but for all the women who’ve ever thought it was too late for them.
We found an abandoned house with so much garbage, and even rotten furniture in the front lawn. Ellen was wearing flannel pajamas and her pearls. She was walking about dazed and confused, just like her worst fear.
And then there was a moment we all held our breaths.
Ellen place the tin hat on her head.
The moment was surreal, it was like everything melted into reality. We felt it.. it was like quiet on the set.
Ellen felt it. She cried, she yelled, she cursed those who had refused to believe in her.
And then… there is always this moment…
“It’s not too late,” she laughed, “to embrace the joy in each ‘scheme’. To be happy.”
She found her power center, and knew that this fear wasn’t reality.
Flash forward.. to the second shoot.
Interestingly.. this photoshoot was harder. The other woman had their themes for the shoot. They knew what essence they would bring to the day.
Ellen was stalling, going back and forth, not landing on the right one, and feeling bad because she didn’t have what the others had.
We watched her sink back into her crazy lady, lost and confused. She got angry and wanted to walk away.
This is how our wounds show up! In the everyday moments they take over and affect our decision making. When we identify that we are in the grip of a wound, we can turn it around.
“What do you really want?” Lindsay asked. “ I will give you whatever you want.”
Ellen turned, her eyes flashing, alive! “I just want to be happy. I want to wear my dress and spin in circles and not care what anyone thinks.”
“YES!” I shouted. “You may have whatever YOU want….”
And so Ellen danced in the waves of the Atlantic ocean. She stood on rock and laughed at the wind. She demanded her time in front of the camera, her space on the planet.
Since then, she made many more courageous decisions based, not on what others think she should do. Not on what others will think of her. But based on what SHE WANTS, on what will make her the most joyous.
And that is what success is really all about.
I begin the first retreat by having the women identify their core wounds, then they mine the wounds for gifts. What did the wound teach them? What skills did they develop to avoid another wound like this?
Then we share.
When Meda shared her wound of feeling like a worthless burden, a piece of garbage, we knew.
The most valuable thing for Meda would be to actually wear the garbage bag. She agreed.
Together, we decided she would be placed on the side of the road in front of a burned out house.
She glared at us, not happy with wearing just a bag. Not happy with being witnessed as garbage.
She cried. She yelled. Finally, she defiantly tore the bag from her body and stood proudly.
“You can put me in the bag,” she said, “But I will never be treated like garbage again.”
And the funny thing is, during Meda’s shoot, and no one else’s, we attracted men. They waved as they drove by. They passed us and stopped down the road to see what we were doing. It was the most traffic we saw all day.
Because even when Meda is in her wound, her energy is magnetic.
This magnetism was what wanted to be seen in the second shoot, in Salem.
At first, Meda was uncomfortable. She giggled when we gave her the crown and the robe.
“You are the High Priestess,” I said.
Meda shrugged… and then…
There is always a moment…
Meda became the embodiment of the Divine.
The confident, radiant High Priestess, channeling Source, the lifeblood of the planet.
The spark of all life shone in her eyes.
We felt it and we knew her power to heal others.
For Mary, the wound had her wrapped in knots.
Her body ached with the weight of hiding.
Her mind was in a swirl from trying to always be perfect.
And so we wrapped her in ropes, messed up her hair, let her rage.
The wild in her came out. The raw animal strength of a woman who refuses to allow herself to be held down anymore, who refused to let those who had wounded her win. When she allowed us to see her pain, we saw her power.
For the second shoot, Mary became the Queen.
She had freed herself from the bonds and was able to fully stand in her radiance.
This was different from any photo Lindsay had ever taken of Mary.
This was her standing her ground for her mission, for her women, for those she is meant to heal. This was her standing her ground for women who have been traumatized and shamed. Able to hold a safe space for their raging, the waves of their despair, their regaining their selves and healing.
This was her saying, “Now is the time. I will be the one to take this stand. I will comfort my kingdom. I will show the way for them to heal. I will guide wounded mothers in their own healing so that our children inherit a kinder, more loving world.”
And we say:
Yes! Yes to Queen Mary. Yes to More of YOU.
Imagine what it would be like to share your deepest wound. To be seen as that which you’ve hidden your whole life. To allow yourself to be photographed in that wound.
Especially if the wound is being invisible.
That is what Linda did.
For the past three years I’ve partnered with Lindsay A Miller, bringing her photographic magic into my year-long program.
First, we gather with my clients for a 3-day “Reclaiming our Wounded Parts” retreat.
I guide the women in an exploration of their formative childhood wounds, extracting the gifts of the wounds: an understanding of the unique way each woman is designed to serve in the world and the distinctive marketing words that will allow each woman to attract her right clients.
They begin to see the wounded part of themselves differently, with more compassion, more love.
Then Lindsay shoots them in their wound.
For Linda, the wound was being an invisible, worthless mistake.
Raised by a narcissistic adoptive mother, Linda has worked her whole life at being worthy. And despite being a highly educated, powerful healer she kept herself hidden and invisible.
Her shoot was later in the day. Good at being invisible, she stood back and let others go first. When it was her turn, she crouched in a dirty corner. The lost little girl in her peered out at us.
I gathered the other women, and turned my back. It broke my heart a little, yet I knew that she would get the full value only if we ignored her in her pain, allowed the broken child to cry.
Her natural Mother instincts took over when she saw the pictures.
She opened her heart, and she made a commitment to love that little girl. To never desert that part of herself again. To be a visible for herself and her tribe.
Then Linda went to work implementing. It wasn’t always easy. She often still put other’s first, making her own needs and desires invisible. Yet, she did the work.
Coming out. Claiming what was hers. Designing a life that works for her.
We gathered again in Maui, and she was ready to express her authentic essence, the part of her that is powerful, centered in self-love, generous without being martyred.
Her first day was difficult. She was triggered. But she had grown enough to know that she deserved to be seen. She needed to take a stand for her needs. Not asking someone else to take care of her, but taking care of herself first. And she did.
So, when the day of our “Divine Feminine Essence” photoshoot arrived, Linda was ready!
She jumped to the front of the line and was one of the first women photographed!!!
She played in the water from the water fall, let the sun warm her skin and glowed with sexy, vibrant energy.
We were captivated by Linda’s beauty, her joy.
Linda set in motion big changes when she returned home. Changes that allow her to be the important, influential healer that she was born to be.
She stepped into the limelight, embracing visibility with this same joy. And it’s already attracting clients and money to her growing coaching practice.
Her clients are already feeling her magic in their lives. Soon, the world will know her.
Nicolette’s wound was being a broken repulsive failure. No matter how many degrees or certifications she had, no matter how loved she was by her clients, she returned over and over to this wound.
Broken, repulsive failure.
“What would it look like,” I asked, “if you dressed as a broken, repulsive failure?”
Nicolette softened. “My body never looked like women on tv and in magazines. I’ve always felt broken and unloveable,” she admitted.
As a result of this belief, Nicolette had spent years hiding under extra weight. And when she lost that, she hid under layers of clothing.
She was also hiding one of her superpowers: her magnetic, sensual Divine Feminine essence.
So for the first photoshoot, we dressed her as the lowest feminine energy, broken and repulsive.
When Lindsay aimed the camera at her, she let it all out. Years of pain, of hiding. Years of anger, building up. Years of holding back. It all came out to be witnessed.
The women, in seeing her, wrapped her in love.
She was free.
Her new freedom showed at our Divine Feminine Essence retreat months later.
“I’ve deepened my relationship with my husband so it’s lifegiving to both of us,” she reported. “I’ve redefined the way I want to do my work in the world. I know who I’m meant to serve and what I’m meant to transform in their lives. It’s easy when I have a conversation with the right women, and it’s easy for them to say yes. And I’m comfortable in asking for what I want!”
“I am enough, I have always been enough. Life is so good.”
“I want you to photograph me as the Channel of Feminine Wisdom”
We took her to the jungle and she opened. The power of the Feminine flowed from her. Her sensual magnetism shone.
She is now leading her clients to a new level of alignment with their energy, their gifts and the co-creation of the lives they are dreaming of and deserve. Because they, too, are enough.
She was, and is, a true example of Feminine Wisdom.
The wound has a way of creeping in, influencing everything, until we look at it directly. It is sly and hidden, causing us to hide our true selves, our soul-mission, or deep desires.
The wound whispers, “it’s not safe… not safe.”
For Shawna, the wound said, “You are a fragile, vile woman.”
She wanted to start a movement, the Anti-Fragile Woman.
Yet her own wound held her back. Kept her small.
When I bring my clients together for the first retreat in their year-long program, I ask them to dig into their wounds, to discover what gifts they might hold.
Shawna was surprised by her wound. She hated the idea of being fragile. And she hid the belief handed down from generations that she was vile simply because she was a woman.
But she did the work, pulled marketing words from the wound, and discovered how this very wound had prepared her to show others the way to their own strength.
On the second day of retreat, we took the women to a parking lot with abandoned buildings, and weeds, and a few stray (but well fed) cats.
Shawna looked around, said “here” as she curled into a helpless, fragile ball without direction, approval or agreement.
Lindsay nodded and began shooting.
The wound, just by being brought into the light, began to loosen its hold on Shawna.
That night, as the other women were comparing notes, I went looking for Shawna. She sat on her bed, sobbing. The wound, in its fullness, poured out of her. She allowed its release as I sat with her and Lindsay took more photos. A witness to her power and bravery.
The next day, Lindsay showed us the photos. Our hearts melted in love for her. And Shawna understood for the first time that there is strength in fragility.
I witnessed Shawna change over the next few months. On our coaching calls she reported that she was taking a stand for herself, and it felt good. She made huge moves to grow her business. She found her soul’s purpose. She put a stake in the ground for the women she is meant to serve. She gleefully told me she knows exactly how to do the work she has wanted to do for so long.
Then, we went to Maui.
We told the women they would be photographed as their Divine Feminine Essence.
I could see the power in Shawna, especially now that she had released the pain of the wound. I reminded her of that, and she agreed. In the depths of her soul she is a Powerful, Source-erous. A woman who manifests magic in the world. A woman who empowers others to manifest their magic.
She stood on the edge of a cliff, and we watched her magic rise in her. We felt her power inviting us to partake of the Divine, to create lives that are richer and free. To own the potency within us.
I say YES! More magic, more feminine power, more aliveness. This is what the planet needs. This is how Shawna will help save the world.
She was nervous, she told me later, entering into this room of strangers. Committing to three days of living in the same house, sharing meals, and, more frightening, sharing the details of her wounds that had been locked away for decades. Yet, she came anyway.
We had come together to explore these very wounds. To mine the gifts of marketing language from the wounds. To learn from them how to uniquely position each woman in her marketplace so that she becomes magnetic to her right clients. And then to honor the wounds, to heal the wounded parts in each woman, to let go of self-hatred and shame.
For Cammie, the wound was that she was weak and worthless.
Her deepest fear was that she would be cast aside, becoming one of the forgotten members of society.
Cammie is the premier professional organizer on the central coast. Her work around revolves around helping people sort through all of the things they have, keeping only that which serves them. She often guides her clients to let go of decades of accumulated items. For many, especially the elderly, their things represent themselves. Letting go must be done carefully. Cammie lends a strong and kind voice to the process.
But for herself, her voice with less kind.
So, we decided to let her experience her deepest fear. To let her walk in worthlessness dressed as a homeless woman.
As she went through the bags of clothing we had brought, she laughed nervously, putting on layer after layer, topping it all off with an old knit cap.
But the day of the photo shoot was more serious. She wandered up the road. Picked up a Starbucks cup that Lindsay had just dropped and sipped the leftover coffee, as if that was her only option
And then she sat next to a pile of broken bottles and old tin cans.
She teared up, she ranted, and then she made a decision. This was not who she was, this was not who she would ever be. The fear was no longer welcome in her system.
When we reviewed the photos, Cammie teared up again. “I didn’t know how much that lived in me,” she said. “I feel the fear my clients feel when asked to give up their possessions. Their fear of being left with nothing but the clothes on their backs.”
Cammie began to look at her life without the fear driving her.
When Cammie got home, she examined what was working and what she was doing simply because others thought it would be a good idea.
She began to choose her joy, her curiosity, her vitality.
And so, when we gathered together again in Maui, she was excited. But she didn’t like the essence we had chosen for her to inhabit.
“I just want to wear my pretty top and have fun,” she told us.
We agreed that she could do whatever she wanted. And, I added, “I encourage you to push your edges a little. Stop worrying about what others will think. Stop being safe, aim for really, really out-of-this-world fun.”
This is truly how we should live our lives. This is truly what makes innovative, successful businesses.
She texted me the next morning
“I want to be a modern Janis Joplin,” she said.
That was cool. That was pushing the edges. That was really fun.
We found her a modern, cool hippie outfit, complete with beads.
She stood on the edge of the ocean and began to dance.
And we were inspired to sing, the only song I could think of in the moment, Jeremiah was a Bullfrog!
Cammie laughed at us and danced more.
We felt her joy burst forth radiating across the waters.
Tourist’s eyes were drawn to her, to her audaciousness, her vibrancy.
Still she danced, healing the hearts of those around her with her joy.
For Shannon the wound was “I am a stupid, lying bitch”.
Somewhere in her childhood she had picked up this belief. She then worked her whole life to prove how honest and reliable she is. She opened a successful and highly trusted accountancy firm and is highly competent. The truth, that she is smart, insightful and able to plot profitable paths to success for her clients, crossed sword and shield with her wound.
The war inside made her stressed, constantly over-giving, leaving no time for herself.
Deep inside, the wound festered. Her anger at the belief grew.
When we took her out to the site of the photoshoot her eyes narrowed into angry slits. We felt her energy brewing. When it was time for her to be in front of the camera she frowned. Then she exploded.
“F-you”, she screamed, “This is not who I am!!”
We looped a rope around her shoulders to hold her back. She lunged forward. For just a moment there was struggle.
“I’m not going to be held back anymore!!!” she yelled, slipping the rope over her shoulders. “I’m not going to kill myself proving that I’m smart, that I’m honest, that I am valuable.”
And she cheered. We cheered. Healing had begun.
Months later we took the women to Maui. We were here to photograph them in their Divine Feminine Essence. We had had months of working together after the wounds retreat to integrate all they had learned.
Shannon reported that her business had grown and she had reached her goals! But more importantly, she felt more at peace with herself, her teenage daughter and her fiancé.
Her true essence wasn’t the angry, stressed woman Lindsay had photographed earlier. It was a Goddess who is sexy, passionate, wild, fun, spirited, free, and alive.
Dressed in a traditional outfit her father had custom made for her in Vietnam, a waterfall and jungle behind her, Shannon opened her arms and allowed the energy of Mama Earth to fill her. She became, before our eyes, the highest expression of the feminine. In that, she attracted others, outsiders who stopped what they were doing to gaze at her.
After the retreat Shannon continued to embody this Mama Earth, elemental Goddess energy growing her business exponentially with clients she adores, finding more ease and spaciousness, and, recently, marrying the love of her life in a beautiful exotic location.
We say, “Yes, more of this please. More of you Shannon.”
Society tells us to get over it, to move on. And so we try. We tuck our wounds away in the shadows, hide them beneath layers of bravado.
Hidden underneath, they eat away at us.
Yet, sometimes the person wears their wound on the outside like a shield.
At the first retreat of my Art of Feminine Marketing Sistermind program, Tawnya arrived wrapped in scarves. She couldn’t relax and had a hard time even closing her eyes to meditate. She was on alert, ready to for whatever attack might come.
I guided the women through a process to find their core wound. Tawnya’s was being stupid and useless.
She had ended a marriage a year before that left her feeling wary and on guard. Her wound told her she had been stupid to marry this man, and useless in protecting herself from the fallout. At the same time she was struggling under the weight of a business where she was making promises she couldn’t keep in order to be seen as useful.
On the day of our photoshoot to honor the wound, she wrapped herself in a turtle neck, hoodie and fingerless gloves. She stood, frozen, peering at the camera with fear. Hiding herself behind the wall of an abandoned building, her pain, her anxiety emanated in waves.
We held our breath, as Lindsay photographed, pushed, urged her to let it out.
Then, Tawnya had enough. She grabbed an abandoned flower pot and threw it. Then another and another. I tossed them back as Tawnya threw with increasing fury.
Over and over.
Lindsay captured her process on film. Moving all the energy out of her body. Releasing years of being made to feel less-than. Years of telling herself she was useless, stupid.
When she returned home, she was changed. She rearranged her work schedule so that she had time and space for herself. She set her promised deliverables so that she could meet and exceed her client’s expectations. She took charge in client meetings in a way she hadn’t before.
Her clients loved it. She was able to raise her rates to align with the work she was doing. More clients showed up, asking for her services.
And because she was now taking time to refill her own well, she was able to get more work done, in less time.
By the time we arrived on the island of Maui, the essence Tawnya would embody on this retreat was evident.
“I’m a comfortable, elegant fortune 500 CEO on vacation;” she told us. “I did it, I figured it out, I won, I’m out of the rat race. Bitch!!!”
We laughed and were deeply moved.
We knew that Tawnya’s claiming had power. That her vision had already been created.
She is making it real in the world. She is becoming a fortune 500 CEO. And she is bringing a few of her clients along with her!
This year, the wound felt particularly poignant.
Lindsay and I spent a lot of time on the phone together before our photoshoot weekend.
“It’s a hard year,” she would say.
There were moments when each of us felt like giving up, and in the toughest moments, our core wounds emerged.
This, we decided, Lindsay would express in our wound photoshoot.
The day arrived. I held the camera as Lindsay settled into her wound.
“It feels strange to go to work without washing my hair, in my old hanging out pants… but…” she sighed.
We watched as she sank into despondency.
We felt her bitterness.
The world was asking too much of her…
The weight of all of it was too heavy, pulling her down into a chasm of grief and sadness until she couldn’t feel anything. She just gave up.
We watched, knowing that the emotions running through her were not just hers, but belonged to all of us at some point in this past year. That, in allowing them to run through her body, giving them space to be seen and released, she was healing each of us.
Then Lindsay looked up.
“Enough of that,” she proclaimed. She smiled and the world was made light again.
When we gathered the next day for a Goddess photoshoot, Lindsay brought her smile, her sweetness, her sensual Goddess. Having released the gloom she was able to command the space and love that is a universal birth right of all women.
We were mesmerized watching her, a vision of the Goddess of spring, bringing light back into the world. My breath caught in my throat, seeing her in her most magical. This is her gift and her work. In each photo she takes, the Goddess of spring entices and draws forth another aspect of her subject, another part returning them to full wholeness, igniting their light.
For this, I am forever grateful.
The wound for Alice is being insane, a liar, and a useless woman. Her fear of being thought of as crazy kept her hidden and silent as she pushed her magic deeply into the shadows so others , couldn’t use it against her.
Years of being called insane by an ex-husband and a family history of strong women being sent to asylums, made her hold her tongue, kept her message locked in her throat.
“Seriously,” she told us, “a part of me is terrified of being locked up”.
Even showing up in our small, safe bubble was difficult. Alice was willing, yet her wounded self was afraid. As she tenderly, with the smallest of tantrums, tiptoed around the shoot site, I called to her, “Think of your children, your grandchildren. Think of them inheriting your pain and your lack. Think of them flailing themselves because that is the family pattern you are modeling.”
Alice sat in such stillness as the pain of this vision washed over her.
Stillness is not generally good for a photographer, but in Alice’s case, the sadness that crossed her face stirred us all. Lindsay focused and shot.
And then Alice was done with hiding. She sat stunned for a moment with empty space inside of her where the wound had previously lived.
“Oh wow,” She said, “Oh, I feel so light.”
Then the power poured in. Alice felt it, we felt it. The light of being a magical being filled her.
“Oh YES,” she said.
By the Goddess photoshoot the next day, the power in Alice had intensified.
Her hair whipped around her in a glorious cascade of a woman set free. She raised her arms and called the Divine Feminine to her, filling her.
In that moment, Alice remembered who she is, a wise and powerful Goddess standing in a human body to heal those whose lives she touches.
We witnessed her and were called into our own divinity, our own Goddess.
Thank you Alice!
For Anne, the wound was being a stupid, irresponsible, worthless girl.
She showed us her cute little girl dress and shawl, but we wanted more. Not cute, not the sweet Anne we all knew.
What would it be like to show up as stupid, irresponsible, worthless…
And so she put on her old sweats, her tattered shirt…
She wandered through the trash in front of the abandoned building we had chosen for the wound photoshoot and felt all the ways she had abandoned herself.
All the ways she had bought into being worthless, because she was born a girl. All the times she had abandoned her dreams, to serve others. All the ways she ignored her own deep knowing, to do things the way others said she would.
As she explored her abandonment, something deeper welled up.
She began to weep, then to wail.
Deep sobs coursing through her body.
We watched in reverence as a holy cleansing swept through her, dropping all her old masks, all those ancient beliefs she had carried.
We witnessed as she mourned.
As the years of pain left her body in giant puddles of tears and snot, Anne smiled
Her face lit with an inner glow. Her body became alight with Feminine Power.
She laughed, and we laughed, at the truth of who was is. Not worthless or stupid or irresponsible,
But a Goddess of Peace, Passion and Play.
It is this version of Anne that showed up at the Goddess photoshoot the next day.
We were seduced by her magnetism as she dared us all to join her. To come play in her world and be elevated to Goddess ourselves by her presence.
It is this Goddess version of Anne that is building a highly successful dream business and leading her team of successful entrepreneurs in creating their own dream lives.
Thank you, Anne! You are a true Feminine Leader.
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