I remember one particular evening.  I was deep into my studies with the elders of my people and studying with others who has niche knowledge in specific areas at which I was becoming adept.  Doing a lot of study and personal work stirs things up.  Change and becoming is often a messy process.  As a co-worker once pointed out to me, there’s a finite amount of space in my head so if I put something new in, something else is going to come out.  He was being facetious (and a bit lazy) but it’s true in healing work.  Putting something new in the mix flushed out something no longer necessary.  Because of this I was actively partaking in sweatlodge as much as I could fit into my schedule.  And my schedule, as always, being full, it meant that I was unable to go regularly or at regular times so I was meeting all kinds of pourers and communities and gathering amazing experiences at a high rate of speed.

So this particular night was a regularly scheduled lodge for veterans. I was one of two women in the entire gathering, which wasn’t a problem, it just set the tone.  A warrior vibe mixed liberally with common sense, experience, reality, and recovery.  As I was entering the gentleman holding the door flap open for me made some comment.  I don’t even remember what it was.  Some pleasantry or other.  I responded in a self deprecating social way saying something to the effect that I was just a girl and wouldn’t be much trouble.  What has stuck with me all these years is this amazingly wise and humble face looking up at me from where he was on one knee, pinning me with his eyes and stating incontrovertibly, “There are no girls here at this lodge, only women.” It was like I was a bell and he had struck me.  I vibrated through the entire lodge.

Many of us go around ignoring the truth.  We say we want something and we work towards and get so focused on the doingness of achieving the goal that we don’t even know we’ve already reached it.  I had been a woman for a decade and still couldn’t claim it for myself.  I still thought of myself as less than and that at some point the magic wand would wave and I would be a woman.  Nope.  I crossed the finish line on woman-ness way back there.  When I started claiming it whole new vistas opened up for me both inside and out.  The same thing happened when I started my business.  I was months into it and still talking like it was a plan I hadn’t yet implemented.  One of my sisters kindly pointed out that I was past the planning stage and into the being stage of things.  It’s a bit like a Facebook status.  You know, “When is a relationship real enough to be Facebook ready?”  Well, when is who you are Facebook ready?  When are you willing to update your internal identity to claim who you have become?  When does who you feel you are begin to match who you have become?  (Hint: now. Now is as good a time as any.  Ready?  Go!)