I am finally getting back to my journal and starting to feel a settling in my bones. A lot of intensity and traveling this first half of this year. So much has happened. So many faces, so many places. Major changes. Painful transformations. Being with, loving myself and accepting it all.
When I was a little girl, about five years old, my auntie Tanya used to take me down to the basement of my grandmother’s three story, three unit townhouse smack in the middle of Mattapan, Massachusetts, the hood. I spent the first year of my life on that third floor with my mother, my auntie, and my grandmama. I knew it well. The basement was industrial looking and loud with sounds from the water heaters and other grinding house equipment. We had a set of old school vintage desks, maybe a half dozen or so. The ones with the little wooden desktops (barely big enough to fit one sheet of paper) that attached to the wooden seat by a metal bridge. My aunt, a child of my grandmother’s second marriage, was only six years older than me. She used to drag me down the stairs to this basement to pretend like we were in school. Of course, she was always the teacher and I the student. She used to teach me math, her favorite subject, which also became mine as I grew up. She taught me long division when I was only four years old. My primary teachers struggled with this, but for me, it was natural. Sitting in that chair with its little desk that was still a little too big for me, I would watch the light. This was the only space I had known where the windows were up by the ceiling and it fascinated me to see how light filled this room differently from all the others. We had a chalkboard and lots of tiny little colored chalk bits, a bucket full of water and a rag as our eraser, and with these tools, my aunt could play teacher forever. I needed to get out though. I would get tired of sitting and needed longer, bigger breaks. No matter how much I loved to learn, I needed to go outside and run and play, to sing and ride my roller-skates.
Somehow when I think of New Frontiers, I’m reminded of this time. What I receive the most from New Frontiers is this gift of learning. And just writing this, I realize I owe my aunt credit for helping me be the first in my family to go to college. This jumpstart in math was one of my saving graces: it got me a scholarship to study. I love to learn and I learn so much at New Frontiers. I learn a lot about people, about the land, the Maori culture, about what global game changers are up to. I learn a lot about myself. It’s enlightening and truly an honor and privilege to be a part of such an incredible gathering. This past New Frontiers, I had the delight of meeting and experiencing Sonya Renee Taylor, a woman not only sharing my last name but also some deep truths—about the importance of healing within to affect the change outside of us. This is guidance the ancient sages have taught for thousands of centuries, and guidance I had been specifically receiving myself for years as I struggled to navigate life. As well, these have been my recent thoughts as I witness many who are striving on the front lines to “save the Earth” not yet quite grasping this concept. Sonya is a force of nature. Here is a woman oozing self confidence and identifying herself as fatness, blackness, queerness and hot and sexy. We were all blown away. She shined brightly and articulated the need to address global and social justice issues through healing our relationship to our bodies, and empowering ourselves with radical self love. Soul sister is how I saw her. I was thrilled to see Sonya on this stage of scientists, innovators, authors, and entrepreneurs. I was fortunate enough to experience last year’s conference as well and while powerful in its own right, Sonya’s presence brought something that had been missing. She brought Soul to these conversations on global change. My whole body was engaged with her presentation. She spoke to the audience as if she were sitting, having a cup of coffee with each one of us, old friends. She shared a poem that talked about being raised by a black mama and I was immediately put at ease, feeling the sweet familiarity of my own upbringing in her sultry lyrical words.
Sonya is the founder of My Body is Not an Apology, a digital media and education platform where she teaches radical self love as the way forward to healing all of our global issues. Om Goddess, Yes! In fact, I received a message back in December that my first Crowned & Throned class offering would be to teach tools on how to embody radical self love… because this is what we all need! Again, her message was confirmation that when you are open to receiving the universal wisdom, it will pour through, similar to how many people now are channeling the guidance that we all need to embrace the deep divine feminine. I was inspired to see her sharing this message on the beautiful New Frontiers stage in New Zealand. Feeling a lot of gratitude to the Monahan brothers and the Kiwi connect team who brought her into the fold, along with so many other exceptional human beings. It was beautiful to see everyone share their gifts, wisdom and perspective in these illuminated gatherings nestled in Aroha Valley. Sonya was recently chosen to become a part of the first cohort for the Global Impact Visa program, run through the Edmund Hillary Fellowship, a program aimed at bringing together high impact entrepreneurs, leaders and investors to solve some of humanity’s global issues from the Incubation nation, New Zealand.
Indeed, this work cannot be done without the presence of the deep feminine. It is the lack of feminine leadership, principles and energy in our current patriarchal system that has created the global crisis we now face. You cannot change a problem using the same methods that created it. Keeping men in power and following masculine principals is not going to solve anything. Einstein is quoted saying that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again yet expecting different results. A radical shift is necessary. Women like Sonya are the shift. And only through embracing the feminine fully, in our own bodies, and within every facet of our culture, will we bring balance and harmony back to our world. This is wisdom from our ancient ancestors.
One of my dearest sisters, Elie Calhoun, was also chosen for the Global Impact Visa Program and spoke on the New Frontiers stage. Elie is a powerhouse, an advocate for social and economical justice, a fierce warrior of love, and a brilliant social weaver. She brought the healing arts and feminine wisdom to Singularity University. Elie is leveraging technology to help eradicate poverty and educate disenfranchised communities with tools and skills to become more successful in their own lives. She recently created “the rape crisis counseling app” to help survivors find the care and resources they need to heal. Check out Elie’s site, https://www.rapecrisiscounseling.org.
Powerful women like Elie and Sonya are changing the world and some of them are moving to New Zealand to fulfill their missions. One of these women is Catlin Powers, and it was such a delight to also hear her speak on the New Frontiers stage and to hear her full story in a breakout interactive session. Catlin is a dear sister and one of the Earth heroines modeling social entrepreneurial service on our planet. As a chemist, studying the effects of pollution in the Himalayan glaciers, Catlin was invited by one of the nomadic families to study the “real smoke” inside of their home. What she found was astounding: the air inside was 10x more polluted than the air in Beijing simply after cooking an afternoon meal. She also learned that the women were spending between 3-9 hours in meal preparation for their families with these smoky stoves. Immediately, she left her research to help these people find a solution to their energy crisis. 4.3 million people die each year due to breathing indoor air pollution. With her team, Catlin designed and developed SolSource, an outdoor cooker that harnesses the energy of the sun. Now, girls in the village who stayed home collecting fuel are attending school and many people are living cleaner, healthier lives because of her invention. Check out her latest product, SolSource Sport, to contribute to a greener planet: https://www.oneearthdesigns.com. I’m so thankful to know and love these women!
This trip also gave me the pure pleasure and privilege of working with and learning from Charles Eisenstein, in his Space Between Stories workshop. The workshop was profound. Charles is a deep man, humble, quirky. And he’s a genius. He wrote the books “A More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know is Possible” and “Sacred Economics” both which I highly recommend. But if you ever have the opportunity to participate in one of his workshops, run towards it, especially the ones where Maja is co-facilitating, offering her divine presence, her beauty, her soothing chants, poems, music, and rituals from the sacred feminine. It will open your eyes, center your being, and help you gain a better understanding of the uncertain times we are in. So grateful and honored to have sat in circle with Charles, Maja, and the 30 other impeccable beautiful beings for those 5 days.
As I write here about my time in New Zealand this past February, some of it feels like a blur. My mind was split open wide with a lot of new information. Within a day or two or our arrival, we celebrated the official launch of the Global Impact Visa program in Wellington. Now that was very special: to see a government so receptive and devoted to real and lasting, just and positive change that they are willing to step far outside of their conforming box to embrace new ideas such as this. I was impressed. When Matthew spoke, he began his talk with his mihimihi, which is the traditional Maori greeting that introduces you first through the mountains, rivers, land and ancestors you come from before even mentioning your name. Maori culture is extraordinary and it is amazing to see these indigenous ways integrated into a dominant society. That mihimihi impressed the kiwis more than anything else he shared about global impact or the phenomenal talent that will be flocking to New Zealand. This simple ritual captivated everyone’s hearts. He earned their respect by learning and demonstrating this traditional greeting of the Maori people, and I was so proud of him. I’m still amazed by his vision, courage and ability to execute this radical new partnership with the NZ government in such a short period of time. We need more of these alliances around the globe.
Meeting new Maori brothers and hearing their sacred music was gorgeous. Always, the sounds and songs that have been born out of a real connection to land and place help me anchor more deeply and feel more rooted. I rode an electric bike back and forth to the cafe, which I swear serves the most delicious vegan food in all of NZ. I hiked through the forest to the top of the mound and got to see some sheep rattling their dags as my arrival surprised them. I laughed out loud. I had an incredible singing lesson with my brother Elijah Ray and dropped in deep with some of my favorite NZ folk. Huia, one of the Maori elders, and I sat by the river, sharing our stories, and this was deeply nourishing. So many beautiful people. I led our women’s circle and each one of us felt closer, touched by the vulnerability and beauty of one another. For hours, I listened to Gary Williams talk water and I connected with my heart’s truth.
Despite all of these amazing experiences, something was off. My body was asking to slow down, needing more rest, more honoring, more relaxation, and more play. To be honest, I felt embarrassed for needing to sit on the ground and listen to birds, rather than engage in another cutting edge conversation. I don’t believe it was just my body saying this. When I felt into the group and others, there was the sense that we were all moving too fast to receive the deeper feminine nourishment our bodies truly needed. If I were to define my experience as masculine and feminine archetypes, the feminine worked the side lines while the masculine controlled the stage. My body knew this before my conscious mind even acknowledged it, because we have been conditioned to believe this is the way the world works. However, there appears to be a consensus that the world isn’t working too well. I believe that in order to balance and heal our planet, these energies will need to be integrated first within our bodies, and then within these new societal models we are looking to consciously create. Masculine leaders will need to cultivate and integrate their inner feminine qualities (patience, nurturing, receptivity, and empathy) while feminine leaders will need to cultivate and integrate their inner masculine aspects (discipline, direction, action and focus). With all my learning and questioning, attempting to understand and think my way through these global challenges confronting all of us, my heart spoke to me clearly “Gaia knows. Go to her for your answers. And keep your inner child close, take her wherever you go.” My body was calling for more feminine energy, for more radical self love.