The Summer Solstice is the longest day of the year. Like the Winter Solstice, it is a turning point, a time when I deliberate on my repetitive habits, the ways I limit myself and others as well as the times when I welcome magnificence!
Guest blogger Dale Allen continues our journey into the Crone archetype and her relationship to our personal power and inner knowing. She can show us how getting to know the wisdom of the Crone helps us to harness our leadership. Join us in this journey and learn more about why you just might want someone to call you a Crone!
BTW - I loved my interview with Dale from Tuesday, March 6, 2012. I first saw her show at a conference in NYC where we both were keynoting on the wise feminine. I was blown away by her creativity.
She’s been with you since you since the day you were born: Meeting the Crone within.
Let us continue with our journey. Here we are, standing in a winter landscape where all is barren, frozen and covered with snow. You can no longer see the road you were traveling. You are tempted to quickly fill the void with something familiar because it’s just too painful to stand in the unknown. Yet you know on the deepest level what you must do.
Within this metaphor, turn your focus and your energy into the vital organs of your own body. This will be the pathway for going down, deep down beneath the snows—down into the groundedness of your own Being. Hold in your mind an image of a cave underneath the cold, frozen ground. It’s lit orange by a small fire tended by a very ancient, sage woman.
She is a WiseWoman with long, white hair and long, thin fingers. She tends the fire. When she looks at you and your eyes meet, you see timelessness. She’s so very ancient, yet timeless. In many ways, it’s like looking into a baby’s eyes. We say a baby is “fresh from the lap of God,” because, as you look into a baby’s eyes, you’re taken out of the earthly realm and brought into a place of soulful eternity, very much like this ancient Wise Woman’s eyes. You sit with her in the silence. She knows you deeply.
She makes no judgments about you or your life. She makes no judgments about what you constructed and what has fallen. All that she cares about is whether you are living in your own authenticity. “Did you make mistakes?” her eyes ask you. “Yes, of course I did,” your eyes answer. She smiles. She’s very pleased about your journey. You have revealed to her that the mistakes you made were yours. Your efforts to live in alignment with your soul all along the way are evident. It was because you poured your life, your love, into something—maybe it isn’t there anymore, but you did it and it made you stronger and you learned. She’s very happy that you are doing your best and coming from a place of love and learning, even with all its pain. As you sit with her in the stillness, you simply take account for where you are, and breathe for a while in the not-knowing, in the winter—quite suspended, but also very alive.
The Crone asks us to just look around at what is. In doing so, we are looking through eyes of authenticity. The key is to not employ an immediate storyline to fill the gap. We should not try to make ourselves comfortable and make things look like what we knew before. We might be tempted to do that because it’s just too painful to not know. If we resist, we resist a culture that perpetually asks, “What are you doing? I need to know what you are producing! What can you show me? If you can’t show me something you’re producing, you don’t exist!” Our only answer to this discomfort must surely be, “Ahh, but I do exist. I am breathing. I am here.”
If we’re willing to stay in the stillness, even though it’s painful—if we just breathe with it—we open up a fertile space. As we look into this ancient woman’s eyes, she reveals to us that she holds the seed to the bloom of our destiny. It is through the Crone that we come back to the Maiden.
If we try to harness our leadership without bringing forth the sage wisdom of the Crone, we will miss the very seeds of our own creative contributions. We will be hollow, plastic, robotic. Taking time to just be in the stillness—in the not-knowing—pays off in an ability to sow the seeds of our souls’ offerings. The Archetypes That Shape A Woman’s Life – The Crone© — By Dale Allen
In tomorrow’s blog I’ll bring our journey round to how the Inner Crone goes beyond the personal to the collective.
Thank you Dale! Please visit Dale’s website to learn more about her beautiful work and listen to some of her powerful dramatic talks. — http://www.inourrightminds.com
I celebrate you, your wisdom and your leadership – in connection for the benefit of the world!
Isn’t it an insult to call a woman a Crone? I’ve invited guest blogger Dale Allen to tell us how we can more effectively harness our leadership as women when we understand the archetypes, and bring the wisdom and strength they provide to the table. Tune in to the 3 blogs on this topic to learn more about why you just might want someone to call you a Crone!
I learned so much when I interviewed Dale on Tuesday, March 6, 2012. You’ll enjoy her perspective.
It’s wintertime in our northern hemisphere – a perfect time to explore the Crone archetype and start the series: The Archetypes That Shape A Woman’s Life. The feminine archetypes I speak of are Maiden, Mother and Crone and, in that order, fit a woman’s chronological life: Maiden – childhood, Mother – reproductive years, and Crone – elder years. I really want to stress these archetypes are alive, not just some cold and impersonal psychological labels.
I invite you to come into a dream space, a space that is timeless, where characters in novels dwell and where archetypes live and breathe. Within our psyches, the archetypes are always available, they are always there. Rather than just focusing on, and taking the gifts from, certain ones at certain times, it’s very important we understand the archetypes. They offer us such valuable insight, pathways and perspective to understanding where we are in life and what we’ll miss if we don’t glean their wisdom now.
Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung described archetypes as models of people, behaviors, or personalities. For Jung, the psyche was composed of three components: the ego, the personal unconscious, and the collective unconscious. The collective unconscious is where the archetypes exist. These models are unlearned; they are innate, universal, and hereditary. An archetype is an inward image in the human psyche that exerts a powerful influence on the nature of an individual’s personality and, in turn, on the larger culture.
In The Archetypes That Shape A Woman’s Life, I’m not going to begin with the Maiden, which would logically fit the chronological order of things. We aren’t going down a logical path here. We’re going into a space that is beyond logic and beyond time. It is not sequential. We’re going into the dimension of archetypes. I want to focus on the Crone, because I believe that the Crone is probably one of the least well understood of women’s archetypes. Could it be that we fear her, in our culture that so prizes youth and productivity? Are we so jaded by the glamour of youth that we look at the Crone sometimes and say, “Can’t we just skip this one? I don’t think I want to go meet her.” She exists and has existed in us since the day we were born. And she’s so powerful! One of the greatest things we can teach our children (by “our children,” I don’t mean biological/personal family only—we all have children of some sort in our lives) is life is a series of deaths. Life is a progression of disappearances. Our culture thinks of life as an experience that goes something like this: we build it, we structure it, we count on it, we delude ourselves into thinking we’ve arrived somewhere … and then it all goes away. Instead we should look at certain threads that remain: threads connecting to our constant and timeless Inner Core. If we don’t, we can get lost in the painful shambles when all these constructs fall.
Do you remember graduating high school, perhaps heading off to college, and hearing the adults say in a wistful sort of way, “They have their whole lives ahead of them”? What they don’t seem to realize about this stage in our lives is that it is actually a kind of death. Deaths happen even during childhood. I make this point so that you understand that all sorts of deaths happen throughout life. Unprepared, we can get to a point where what we constructed, put all our efforts into — our plans, our dreams, our hopes — are the ways we came to define ourselves and our lives.
These constructs can and often do fall. You may find yourself asking, “What happened? I’m standing here now and I can’t see any of it anymore. I don’t know where to go. I can’t see the path, it’s covered with snow. I don’t know anything here. It’s very still. It’s very silent.”
Yes, winter is a great time to explore the Crone. The winter landscape offers us its barrenness. Rather than despair, we need to look on it as a revelation. See that the lack of fruits and flowers, our myriad creations, the garlands around the Maypole are not truly hidden by the bleak landscape with trees silhouetted against the sky.
We will come to see that it is just another manifestation of death, not to be feared. What was familiar may be gone. But we can’t fast-forward to spring. In fact, if we try to fast-forward so that something will immediately fill the void, we will find that it is false and it, too, will fall. If we have the courage to stand in the stillness and simply look around us, there’s an invitation that will occur. It’s an invitation to journey down deep within our selves. The Archetypes That Shape A Woman’s Life – The Crone© — By Dale Allen
In tomorrow’s blog, I’ll take you on that journey beneath the snows to meet the Crone within.
Thank you Dale! Please visit Dale’s website to learn more about her beautiful work and listen to some of her powerful dramatic talks. — http://www.inourrightminds.com
I celebrate you, the way you find your wisdom, listen to your intuition and express your leadership – for the benefit of the world!
“It’s time to stop fooling ourselves”, says Anne-Marie Slaughter in a recent article in The Atlantic Monthly, “women who have managed to be both mothers and top professionals are superhuman, rich, or self-employed.” Anne-Marie held top positions of power, and chose to leave the State Department to go home to be with her teen-aged sons when they needed her. She got a lot of grief for her choice.
My heart breaks that we still struggle with this basic disagreement! What really matters to the future of our world – the number of hours worked or the health of our children and families?
At first I also did the supermom routine. When my beautiful daughter was born my days were like this – nurse, work, nurse, work, sleep, nurse. Take the sitter with me to consulting contracts so I could see and hold my baby during the breaks. Soon I was exhausted, but determined to not let it show. In one meeting, I startled myself, realizing that for a nano second I’d fallen asleep. Luckily no one else saw me. Once I was joyfully pregnant with my son and I knew things had to change.
The choice to stay home for three years was super hard for me – it meant a loss of identity, confusion about my priorities – and I couldn’t figure out how to slow down! What was I going to do with all my energy? While I was competent as a professional – it took me many months to learn how to really show up as a parent.
Anne-Marie tried for years to do it all – to have it all. Eventually, her heart chose – her sons needed her at home, now. Even though she was the first woman to hold these positions, her sons couldn’t wait until the next big policy was in place or until after the election. After completing top positions at Princeton and Harvard, she left a senior position as Director of Policy Planning for the United States Department of State to spend her time as a mom.
Subtle gestures, unspoken assumptions, and direct comments place a low value on child care in comparison with other activities. They make it a lot harder for a primary caregiver to get ahead.
What is your experience? Do people in positions of power place more value on parenting activities or on other activities like training for a marathon more outside of work? My experience matches Anne Marie’s, that the marathon runner is considered dedicated while the mom is sidelined.
This story from Anne-Marie goes to the heart of the matter: “An employer has two equally talented and productive employees. One trains for and runs marathons when he is not working. The other takes care of two children. What assumptions is the employer likely to make about the marathon runner? That he gets up in the dark every day and logs an hour or two running before even coming into the office, or drives himself to get out there even after a long day. That he is ferociously disciplined and willing to push himself through distraction, exhaustion, and days when nothing seems to go right in the service of a goal far in the distance. That he must manage his time exceptionally well to squeeze all of that in.
Be honest: Do you think the employer makes those same assumptions about the parent? Even though she likely rises in the dark hours before she needs to be at work, organizes her children’s day, makes breakfast, packs lunch, gets them off to school, figures out shopping and other errands even if she is lucky enough to have a housekeeper—and does much the same work at the end of the day. Cheryl Mills, Hillary Clinton’s indefatigable chief of staff, has twins in elementary school; even with a fully engaged husband, she famously gets up at four every morning to check and send e-mails before her kids wake up.
The discipline, organization, and sheer endurance it takes to succeed at top levels with young children at home is easily comparable to running 20 to 40 miles a week. But that’s rarely how employers see things, not only when making allowances, but when making promotions. Perhaps because people choose to have children? People also choose to run marathons.”
There are real barriers and flaws in the system young women today have inherited – systems that make it tough to parent and succeed at work. Women are still underrepresented at the decision making tables – and so are their values and priorities. If we truly believe in equal opportunity for all women, some fundamentals need to change.
Women are over 50% of the college graduates and wield over 50% of the financial resources in the US and Europe. While Linda Tarr-Whelan, Ambassador, Senior Policy Advisor to the UN and author of Women Lead the Way, asserts we need a 30% solution. Anne Marie proposes that we will see changes in what is expected only when we elect a woman president and 50 women senators; to ensure that women are equally represented in the ranks of corporate executives and judicial leaders. We are a long ways from those numbers.
The system needs to change – and women need to change. As women, only when we value our feminine wisdom will we insist that society value parenting – whether it is a man or a woman as primary caregiver.
Anne-Marie took a risk in publishing this article – and a quick google search shows lots of hostile responses. I’ve lived this story as well – stayed awake worrying about my kids when I traveled and wished I was home when the disasters struck – and I have to say I agree. We can’t have it all, not in the existing system.
Only when the subtle and overt system barriers change and women wield positional power in sufficient numbers will we create a workplace and a society that genuinely works for women and families.
The good news? This will be a world that works for everyone.
I must admit. Many of my clients are my “favorite” – they inspire me to no end. I learn from them every day we work together. Over the past 3 years I’ve been privileged to work with Deb Hubsmith the founder and Director of the Safe Routes to Schools National Partnership as she tripled the size of her budget, staff, and the range of her work. Please join me in congratulating Deb, and The Safe Routes to Schools National Partnership, for receiving the Game Changer Award from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention this week.
Deb is passionate and strategic, smart and visionary, intuitive and precise on details, scrappy and wise. With an interactive leadership style Deb builds consensus up front and all along the way, shares power and information to avert a crisis before it happens. She is comfortable with ambiguity, watching issues unfold, ready to respond when the time is right. She keeps her focus on what matters, while scanning with broad spectrum vision. She pays attention to the texture of the workplace as she develops and inspires her nationally based staff. A communicator – her verbal agility and capacity to read subtle cues mean that she moves teams and causes through obstacles that seem insurmountable. A wise feminine leader!
Why is “safe routes” a critical issue? Think thriving self-reliant kids riding bikes and walking to school instead of being dependent on their parents to drive. Think liveable communities, less pollution, decreased obesity, and the kind of future we want to pass on to our children.
Deb Hubsmith, Director of the Safe Routes to School National Partnership, first started her game changing efforts 15 years ago by working to improve bicycle and pedestrian routes to schools in Marin County, California. As awareness of childhood obesity grew, she took her local successes, passion and pioneering spirit to the national level and worked with Congress to create the federal Safe Routes to School program which is now established within the Departments of Transportation of all 50 states. More than 5 million children and 12,000 schools are already benefiting from more pedestrian and bicycle pathways as well as education programs.
Through her tireless efforts, Deb and The Safe Routes to Schools National Partnership ignited a national movement to make streets safer for kids to walk and bicycle to school and in daily life. Deb, her staff, and their more than 500 organizational partners, continue to show how Safe Routes to School can be a catalyst for bringing about system-wide built environment changes that increase physical activity and safety, building a healthier future for children and everyone.
Throughout developing a strategic plan that included input from almost a thousand stakeholders, evolving staffing structures, learning new leadership skills, strengthening teams, and strategic responses to complex changes, Deb is one of those clients motivated to make changes in herself and her organization. She turns on a dime when shown a better way to do something and is always ready to learn along with her talented Staff Director Team.
Thank you Deb for your fine work and dedication. It’s an honor to work with you.
Postscript - sadly Deb Hubsmith passed away in 2015 of acute myeloid leukemia. Her legacy lives on.
Learn more about the Safe Routes to School National Partnership and Deb Hubsmith’s legacy at http://www.saferoutespartnership.org
“The capabilities that made leaders successful in the past are unlikely to lead to success in the future. Leaders need to embrace new behaviors – but to do this they must first understand how the world has changed and how old ways can lead to business and personal obsolescence!” Annie McKee, Founder of Teleosleadership; Co-Author “Primal Leadership, “Resonant Leadership”
Like many of us, you may sense that the world is changing and that you, your team or organization has a bigger role to play. A Next Octave Leader values and utilizes the gifts and natural authority of her feminine wisdom and power; with increased self-assurance she leverages her unique strengths and talents to be powerfully effective.
In a recent radio show hosted by Carole Sacino I explore the top 7 ways a woman’s vision and values are critical in business. Through stories of women around the world, we discussed the 4 steps that you can use to stabilize your WiseCore in any situation so that you can succeed through the uncertainties of change.
Carole and I explore what holds women back and how research points to 3 key factors: self-doubt, dismissal, and shrinking. They add up to a persistent lack of confidence. Do you experience this? Many women I speak with every day do.
Click here to listen to my interview with Carole Sacino on VoiceAmerica Variety Channel for an engaging exchange and stories about professional presence, feminine wisdom, and authentic leadership with results.
All of us who are striving to lead from wisdom can benefit from regular doses of inspiration which is one of the reasons why I have developed the Next Octave Women’s Leadership Webinar which shows women leaders, entrepreneurs and managers how to develop a more authentic and effective leadership style. You will learn how to use the 4 steps that stabilize your Wise Core and step you into your personal power.
Upcoming Radio Interview on The AWE Factor – Advancing Women Everywhere: Leading the New Economy
April 24, 2012, 7:00am PT/10:00am ET Hosted by Carole Sacino
In this interview I share some just developed insights that really make a difference.
Like many of us, you may sense that the world is changing and that you, your team or organization has a bigger role to play.
A woman leader who becomes a Next Octave Leader values and utilizes the gifts and natural authority of feminine wisdom and power. With increased self-assurance she leverages her unique strengths and talents to be powerfully effective.
In this show I’ll share the top 7 ways a woman’s vision and values are critical in business. Through stories of women around the world, you will learn 4 steps to stabilize your WiseCore in any situation and succeed throughout the uncertainties of change.
What holds women back? Research shows doubt, lack of confidence. How do we get past these internal glass ceilings?
I’ll tell you about other women who incorporate feminine wisdom, even in tough work environments, to develop a leadership, organization and life full of courage, focus, and confidence.