"I didn't feel like I had permission to be here, to be seen, to dress up, to look nice or to feel empowered. I felt like I didn't have the right to ...well, exist - anywhere outside of my house, my family or my workplace. I felt like an imposter, not just in the restaurant, but in the WORLD."
Since the great yoga-teacher-training-ego-death debarcle lessons of 2016, I've not been well. I've been floating in this space of uncertainty and grief looking for a part of me that I have lost. This is a poem I wrote recently that captures that feeling...
My ego death about my yoga identity, the empty-nest hollowness I feel about my children growing up and the loss of my home have all converged in this massive ball of grief that I feel almost all of the time these days.
What my children leaving has done, however is to remind me who I was BEFORE I became a mother.
Last night, my partner took myself and my youngest daughter out to dinner at the casino. I looked around at all of the women who were dressed immaculately and I could feel a mass of anxiety rising in the pit of my stomach, the realisation that I was an imposter; like I shouldn't have been there, because I had no right. Just like I did as a teenager and a young adult at university.
In both situations, I didn't feel like I had permission to be here, to be seen, to dress up, to look nice or to feel empowered. I felt like I didn't have the right to ...well, exist - anywhere outside of my house, my family or my workplace. I felt like an imposter, not just in the restaurant, but in the WORLD.
I am afraid of being seen and to be honest, my greatest fears (apart from tsunamis - and who isn't scared of them?!), is to be the bride in a wedding because that would make me the centre of attention. All of these fears were hidden while I was a mother, but now, it's come back in a full-frontal assault on my consciousness. There's this real sense of a feeling that I don't have permission to be happy, to have fun, or be successful outside my comfort zone of my introverted protective bubble that I created while my kids were around.
Recently I signed up for the Femme-preneur training with Marnie Le Fevre and the moment I signed up I realised that this was a woman who wouldn't allow any of this inner crap stay inside me, the training will break down these walls that I have put up to protect myself from rejection and hurt by others because in truth, I'm afraid to shine. I'm afraid to shine my own light and to just be fully in myself as Alyssa Curtayne. The moment I signed up, it was as if I actually started the training with her on an energetic level and I'm scared, I'm excited but mostly I'm tired of pretending that I'm okay with how things are because I'm not.
So, today, I'm asking myself what the most extraordinary thing I could imagine for my life. I'm breaking down the walls and giving myself permission to live an extraordinary life where I am comfortable in being the very best me I can be, the most beautiful me I could be and the most happy me I could be and in August I experience the training with Marnie, I know I'll just be ready to shine and let my vulnerable brilliant self be.
©Alyssa Curtayne 2019
"The role of women is changing from the traditional maiden, mother, crone to a time where any woman can be whatever it is she wants to be. A Goddess doesn’t have to be a young woman, or a mother, and she can age as gracefully (or disgracefully) as she wishes. It’s about women having choice; it’s about women feeling beautiful, powerful, confident and sensual in their own skins."
The internet has been awash with blogs, Instagram images and articles about being a Goddess, yet, unless you have experienced it, many women do not know what a Goddess is, or indeed, how to be one. And what on Earth does it mean to be Empowered? In the interests of full disclosure, this article will be my truth about what being an Empowered Goddess means to me.
For many years, I was plagued with self-esteem issues and it wasn’t until I did an online course with Leyolah Antara at Kundalini Dance that I felt the pulsing of energy that is the feminine energy of the Goddess that I fully understood the sensation of being an Empowered Goddess. I guess for me, I had to experience it to understand its power.
I could start by writing about how women were revered in many ancient cultures (and some modern ones), however, I think that it will detract from the issue. Such powerful women as the goddesses of early Pagan (Diana, Hretha), Hindu (Kali), Sumerian (Ishtar, Ereshkigal), Egyptian (Isis), Norse (Freyr, Bil), Irish (Dana, Brigid) and Greek (Aphrodite, Artemis) societies, not to mention those from China, Africa and the Americas as well as Indigenous ones and those in the Biblical stories, such as the divine Mary Magdalene.
I could talk about the other terms like embodied woman and Shakti that are used interchangeably about the Goddess in the early 21st Century but for the ease of the article, let’s just stick with the Goddess. Historically, women were revered as they carried children and the burden of both life and death through the process of childbirth. Thankfully, maternal deaths are decreasing and less women are dying in this important stage of life, and more interestingly, many women are choosing not to have babies. The role of women is changing from the traditional maiden, mother, crone to a time where any woman can be whatever it is she wants to be. A Goddess doesn’t have to be a young woman, or a mother, and she can age as gracefully (or disgracefully) as she wishes. It’s about women having choice; it’s about women feeling beautiful, powerful, confident and sensual in their own skins.
Women have only had the right to vote for about 100 years and the Goddess has risen historically in periods when misogyny was at its worst, such as when the Inquisition tortured and killed thousands of men and women who stood up to the church. Women who rode “cowboy” were considered witches (I kid you not!) (Stay tuned for my first novel, Matilda, based on this crazy misogynist culture in 2018). The Goddess brings us back to balance when the masculine energies become too dominant and unfortunately, we need the Goddess energy now more than ever.
Women are tired of being told what we can and can’t do by men and the institutions that run the world. We are all powerful, we know it and men know it and when they see us in our full power, they know who really wields power; and it’s not men or women, it’s a balance between the two.
The word “empower” means to “to give power or authority to; authorize, especially by legal or official means.” By its definition alone, being empowered means that we give permission to ourselves to feel the power of ourselves. By extension, an empowered person also aids and empowers other people, particularly women, ethnic minorities and those who are in some way disenfranchised by society. Putting others down, does not empower the self, and it certainly does not empower others.
An Empowered Goddess is not the antithesis of men, she lifts up the men in her life as much as she lifts the women and herself. It doesn’t have to be duality; that is dominance by men OR women, it’s about balance. The more the Empowered Goddess taps into her inner self, the more that she can empower others to be the very essence of who they are, raising us all up in a collective empowerment.
To me a Goddess is a woman who has embraced and accepted all of who she is, that is, her darkness and her light. We all have the capabilities to be a great healer or leader or indeed someone who is capable of murder, given the right scenario. A Goddess sees and acknowledges those parts of herself that reflect both the primitive parts of humanity and the full goodness of it.
A Goddess is a woman who has done a lot of self-reflection and owns all of those parts of herself that at times she doesn’t like and at times she loves. When she looks into a mirror a Goddess will sometimes see a frightened little girl, or a vulnerable woman, other times she will see a wild woman ready for anything and other times a sensual, sweet seductress.
A Goddess is a woman who is assured in her sexuality; she has no guilt or anxiety around masturbation or sex and honours each and every lover with every ounce of her being. She can see her lovers’ vulnerabilities and knows just when to support him/her and lift them up. She is able to walk away if it’s not bringing her satisfaction, yet she is happy in the moment, knowing that she is exactly where she is meant to be.
She is not afraid of men, in-fact, she knows just the right ways to disarm or seduce a man should it please her. This is not something that she shows off, but if she wants someone or something, she will get it, she knows of her power to manifest her desires in a way which is loving but not manipulative. An Empowered Goddess feels into her body and she knows it, inside and out. It’s a feeling of being connected to something greater than all of us; a flow of femininity if you like that completely honours and respects the masculine and feminine balance of life.
May you find and honour your inner Goddess and those around you.
©Alyssa Curtayne, 2017
Note: In 2015, I created tools to help people become self-empowered; Chakra Cards. Unlike traditional tarot and other divination tools, these tap into our intuitive self and allow people to clear all that no longer serves for them and help them to become an empowered Goddess or God with the power of looking within. Chakra Cards Empower yourself; look within.
Last month when I was sharing my blog on the amazing Rachel Burrows-Davies, I accidently wrote the word “inspirited”. It was in those nanoseconds that I realised that I had stumbled across (and probably invented) a most spectacular word.
Inspiriting (verb): an inspirational action which is driven by spirit; to let spirit live through the individual.
To live an inspirited life means that you are living and are driven by the spirit. It is not the ego or external forces driving you or your actions, but moment to moment existence; the calling within you, the vibrating, pulsing energy of all of life that drives through you.
What it means to live an inspiriting life:
I quit my teaching job because it felt so wrong and I was literally dragging myself out of bed and forcing myself to drive the 35 minutes to a place I couldn’t stand to be. Yet I persisted with it for nine months because I was under the illusion that I couldn’t survive financially without it, but what happened was that I was so overcome with offers of work that I couldn’t fit them all in in one day. I am so flat out all day every day, completely engaged in things that I love to do and I couldn’t be happier.
What I have learned is that if you feel a “calling” or an inner nudging, don’t ignore it, follow your intuition/instinct. Make a decision and the universe will respond by helping you. Your purpose in life is not to work in a job you despise until you retire and then start living out your dreams in your 60s! It is to live your dreams now, by following your calling. If something feels good, or even too good to be true, then it probably is too good to be true and YOU ABSOLUTELY DESERVE it, you are being offered an amazing gift, why would you say “no”?!
The world is changing at a rapid rate and the idea of staying in a relationship, job, house and so on until it reaches a disastrous end is not doing you, or the planet any favours. The world is calling to be true to yourself, stand strong in who you are and trust that inner nudging that you feel, you know it is the right decision because you will feel the joy in your heart.
©Text and images Alyssa Curtayne 2015
You know when you meet people who are truly living their lives with purpose. You can tell that they have walked through that invisible barrier that we all put up. Rachel Davies Burrows is one of those people.
Rachel is the founder of The Joy Sanctuary, a beautiful oasis of peace in the Perth Hills town of Kalamunda. This vibrant single mother of two had to experience a few tough years before she started listening to the inner nudges, “I wasn’t living my authentic truth before I got sick,” she said. Rachel said that she had always been a happy and positive person, but she never really lived that with feeling. “I realised that we don’t get forever…if I don’t give it a go then what’s the point?” she said. Like many people, Rachel needed a catalyst to get her to move into authenticity. “I needed cancer to motivate me to live my dream, it’s almost ridiculous to say, but it’s true,” she said after being diagnosed with leukaemia in 2011. Rachel feels stronger from her experience with the disease. “I could be a victim to it…but it’s given me the fuel to push me to where I really wanted to be…it wasn’t an easy ride.”
Rachel opened the space in May 2015 and it has had a steady build-up of business for the eclectic collection of products in the retail section and the courses run by people who have just walked into the shop. “It’s amazing how it draws the right people in. I have an amazing interaction with every person,” she said. The Joy Sanctuary really is about bringing together all the things that Rachel loves. “I love being a part of other people’s journeys…I feel like I am facilitating some place where others can do what I have done,” she said. “That brings me my highest joy.” “I have had so much synchronicity in my life since I’ve taken that leap,” she said and has been overwhelmed by the generosity of people who have come into her new life.
“There’s no question that I’m doing the right thing.”
There have been a number of lightbulb moments for Rachel and, like many of us, often needs to hear to things multiple times before she listens. One of the more significant illuminating moments was when she returned to her administrative assistant job and realised that the life that she had been living no longer fit who she was.
“I couldn’t live like that anymore,” she said.
Rachel uses the analogy of crossing a bridge to describe what it’s like to take that leap of faith. “You can’t see where you are going and trust there will be something on the other side…and once you start you can’t go back,” she said. There have been a few scary moments along the way but it helped her to realise where her passion was. As for the future of the business, Rachel is not sure where it will go “but that’s okay, I don’t need to.”
Rachel says that her whole life had not been about being empowered. “The Joy Sanctuary is a place of empowerment…being within myself.” She is doing it for herself because she loves it and it brings her joy.
And I think that is the secret to the success to making the leap into the unknown. Like Rachel needed cancer to prompt her to take action, not everyone has to have cancer! Some people struggle with relationships, jobs, health, accidents, drug use and, in my case, having no money is my catalyst to start following that inner nudge inside. Following the things that you love and are passionate about, even if it means taking one step at time, after all as Martin Luther King Jnr said “you don’t need to see the whole staircase, you just need to take the first step.”
Synchronicity happened while I was writing this and it was affirmed by a video and article by the amazing philosopher Alan Watts who also affirmed that it is passion that you need to follow. Watch this link to a Steve Jobs/Alan Watts combo: http://youtu.be/3yFiqdCjNMk
On the TED Talks series, there is a lawyer and philosopher, Ruth Chang who had a great 15 minute talk on “How to make hard choices”. Please take the time to wrap your head around it. In it she speaks about the values we place on decisions, but also making decisions based on what you feel inside, not what society expects of you and its values. She calls people “Drifters” when you don’t put yourself into it. “Drifters allow the world to tell the story of their lives,” she said. I have been a drifter, professionally speaking. I have gone where society says I should be and I have never had enough money, even when I was on a great income. There was never enough. Maybe it’s time to put my agency behind what I’m called to do and to trust in who I am, how I think and my own divine uniqueness and most importantly the things that bring me enormous joy. I admire those people who don’t need a catalyst and trust in the path.
For me, I felt the strongest urge that my job was not working for me, pretty much the moment I started it. Here we are nine months later and I am officially “unemployed” in three weeks. But that’s the best bit, I am so excited about the infinite possibilities for me and I have spent the past year really meditating on how I want to live my life. There are so many possibilities that I love so many things that Rachel’s idea of putting all of her joys in one place appeals to me. I don’t have to do ONE thing. I can do and BE multiple things and create my world how I want it by following my bliss, the things that bring me joy.
Rachel (and Andrea from previous blog) are inspirations to me because they are living, breathing examples in my world of how following your bliss brings so much joy, happiness and synchronicity into your life. There’s an enormous amount of faith that is required to do this, but it feels so right to follow the inner callings within you and to step out of the hamster wheel where our authentic selves are smothered or lost by jobs, relationships and expectations that we value over our own intuitive whispers and knowing. Maybe it’s time to stop “drifting” and step into my divine authenticity, not just cognitively, but in real faith and action. See you on the other side.
©Alyssa Curtayne 2015
When I found out that Dr. Wayne W. Dyer died, I was checking my Facebook on my lunch break in a job that I’ve just resigned from. I immediately thought, that can’t be right, he’s only 75, he’s still got work to do. I was in instant denial. I couldn’t believe it. It was like my Father or Grandfather had transitioned and my whole world shifted. I realised that I can’t be a wallflower anymore. Those teachers who had come before are starting to transition and if we don’t step up now, who will be there to offer guidance to the generations that follow? There was no conscious thought in this, for me, it just happened. Not only was his death an enormous loss of someone who I imagined would always be there, but it was a kick in the pants. It was a reminder from the universe that I need to stop making excuses. I need to step into my own light.
During the past few months I’ve had moments where I feel like I’m dying. Not a physical death, but a shedding of layers of who I think I am and his death came during one of those weeks. Dr. Wayne W. Dyer has his own website where you can learn more about him www.drwaynedyer.com so I won’t waste your reading space by repeating what many of you already know. Needless to say, I wish that I had met him, but then again, by reading his books, I already did.
As a response to his death, his publisher, Hay House www.hayhouse.com released his movie, The Shift www.hayhouse.com/the-shift-movie for people to watch freely for seven days. So this morning, this is what I did. In the midst of my personal shifting this gift of a film came at the most synchronistic time. And as he says in the film “synchronicity happens when ego is disconnected”(or something like that). What happened as I watched this film, was it spoke directly to my heart. It spoke truth, my barriers that I built up were broken down and every time Wayne opened his mouth, I cried; a deep and heart-centred crying of release. It was the kick up the pants that I needed.
I implore everyone to watch it when you can, but for the benefits of this blog, these are the lessons that I learned (and was reminded of) from that film and are a wonderful legacy of Wayne’s life and teachings.
1. The concept of Dharma. That is what we are here for, to be aligned with the universe and “cosmic law and order”. Life makes itself, you just have to show up.
2. Edge God Out = Ego
3. Life: let yourself be lived by spirit. Surrender. Trust in the nature of your being, to BE.
4. Don’t ignore the calling inside you.
5. When you are authentic, you can experience bliss.
6. Don’t die with the story/song still within you. You shouldn’t have to die to get IT, to get why you’re here.
7. Motivation is from within. Get to a place where you are guided by spirit. Allow and let God.
8. How may I serve? Is THE most important question you need to ask.
9. Trust everything will happen perfectly. Whatever you are looking for will show up, prepare for it and LET IT GO!
10. Release attachments to outcomes.
For me Wayne Dyer was a friend that I could turn to when things were confused, or I was looking for answers. The books that I have of his have been carted around the country for when I needed them and they will remain so. While he has left his physical body, his presence is still here, guiding us, showing us, reminding us of what we already know, our authentic truth that we are a divine spark of light.
As I was writing this, the song “Be Here Now,” by Ray LaMontagne came on my Pandora. Ha! Synchronicity in action! Then my cat, who hates cuddles, came and sat on my lap. I think it’s about reading the signs and being fully present in the moment, in the presence of the divine in your life and being grateful for that. To start the day by saying thank you; to appreciate everything – good and bad – for showing you the way back to yourself and back to the divine, which is the ENTIRE reason that we are all here. So maybe now I can stop asking Why am I here?! I don’t have a greater purpose. I don’t have something I need to be achieving or aiming towards. I’ve been looking at it in a way that has kept me in poverty and in a profession that I have no love or passion for. My purpose, my only purpose is to be fully present in connection with divine and everything will unfold as it will. And whatever comes, I will thank it, because that is what I need to get me closer to complete PRESENCE.
Blessings to you.
Thank you Wayne Dyer, thank you Hay House.
©Alyssa Curtayne 2105
Kalamunda naturopath and Kundalini Yoga teacher Andrea Gabriel is one of those women who you just want to emulate; she has a lovely, grounded energy, is gorgeous and a seemingly perfect life. When Andrea invited me to join her Kundalini Yoga class, I admit, I didn’t want to go. I was resisting. I felt hesitant, afraid and to be honest, somewhat afraid that I might walk out on her class like I did the first time I tried it.
The first time I tried Kundalini Yoga, I nearly packed up my mat, never to return. The teacher was amazing, but the venue wasn’t ideal and in all honesty, I protested in my mind about how it WASN’T “real” yoga. In the end I sat in meditation trying to address the massive resistance I was feeling. As an Iyengar, Vinyasa and acro-yoga aficionado, all the breathing and accessories that accompanied Kundalini Yoga stressed me out. It all seemed so…well, contrived. I ended up planning to never do it again. But something in me was fighting. What was this? Why was I resisting? Was it because I was blocking something with myself, or did I genuinely not enjoy this style of yoga? If it was my first ever yoga experience, I probably would have never gone back, but I knew there was something deeper at work.
When many people first start yoga, they are not aware of the abundance of different styles and diversity amongst teachers. It takes a while to find a style that suits you and also a teacher that resonates with you. The first time I walked into Andrea’s beautiful home studio overlooking rolling hills and met her, I knew that she was a teacher I could relate to, but the style, Kundalini Yoga, I was still not sure about.
Kundalini Yoga is a style of yoga that was brought to the U.S. in 1969 by Yogi Bhajan in response to a need he felt in American society. According to Andrea, he was the last in the Golden Chain, a lineage of Yoga Masters who left behind an abundance of great teacher trainers after his death in 2004. Andrea’s own path into Kundalini Yoga is very different from my own. Andrea went through a very “dark” time where she felt out of place and didn’t care whether she lived or died. Following a serious car accident where she walked away with only a scrape to her head did she realise that things needed to change. In seeking healing from her accident, she came across a book: “The Eight Human Talents” by Gurmukh. Everything in the book resonated with Andrea and she started practicing the meditations and practices in it, often in secret, because it seemed so “weird” and not mainstream. Soon her clients noticed a change in her and wanted some of her magic. Before long Andrea had started practicing Kundalini Yoga with small groups and soon was drawn to the teacher training.
Like many people who do yoga teacher training to deepen their own practice with no intention of teaching, Andrea was no different, “what I did was to create a space for sharing with others.” That was six years ago. Now she has a beautiful purpose-built studio adjoining her home and offers classes as an aside to her Naturopathy business. “Kundalini is a spiritual and uplifting yoga, but very grounding,” she said. It is about shifting the energy from the base up rather than being driven by animalistic desires, addictions and survival patterns of living. The mantras are grounding but connect to the greater self, “creating a safe place to practice in.”
Some of my biggest blocks when I went to my first Kundalini Yoga class were the teacher’s head cover and dressed all in white and the rapid and intense breathing that accompanies the movement. I think more than anything, I wanted to understand the logic behind it all. The headpiece is not religious and Andrea explained that it is designed to both keep the bones in the skull in alignment, but also covers the crown chakra, allowing for the spiralling energy experienced in the class to rise up to the crown and instead of being released, returns into the body, building it’s intensity as are the pranayama (breathing). The white clothing is for expansion of the energy into the auric field.
After being a yoga participant for nearly 20 years, I would have to say that this would have to be the most overtly spiritual yoga practice that I’ve come across. It doesn’t hide the energies, or the chakras and isn’t about achieving the pose the best, or wearing the latest pants or accessories that so often accompany yoga these days. There is no room for ego in Kundalini Yoga. “Kundalini is for everybody…Yoga for the most part is quite physical,” but Andrea says this style is a “fast-track to get into spiritual awareness…it’s the energy of the whole experience…it’s a technology, a science that’s proven.”
I won’t deny that I had a very strong resistance to Kundalini Yoga, after all, I’ve had mind-blowing ecstatic orgasms through Kundalini Dance practices with Leyolah (http://www.kundalinidance.com/ref/11/ ), I’ve got plenty of books on Kundalini Shakti and tantric arts and the energetic aspect is not foreign to me. The resistance is there because there is energy that needs shifting, Andrea said. “Resistance means that you need it even more,” and she’s right. I might not need Kundalini Yoga specifically to get myself back on track, but I need the connection that it brings. In those moments where I forget that I’m a soul experiencing a physical incarnation, I need to re-connect. “Whenever I teach, I’m here, I come back, I’m present,” Andrea said.
I’m glad I went back for another go at Kundalini yoga. Andrea recommends at least three sessions before making your decision about it. Resistance is often about energy that is blocked that needs releasing and on the other side of resistance is bliss, the energy shifts and you can “feel the most intense feelings of love and acceptance,” she said. The key to overcoming this resistance is through repetition of a mantra, thought pattern or habit for at least 40 days, it may take longer. Even if you didn’t like your yoga class, or your teacher, you will find the style and teacher that work best with you, just like a good hairdresser, it takes time. Embrace that resistance.
Contact Andrea at www.raisingvibrationsyoga.com.au
©Alyssa Curtayne 2015
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