What is a goddess? Most people see or hear this word in modern context and imagine a sun-kissed beauty with arms outstretched to the sky. If we consider befriending or embodying our inner goddess, we either recoil at the thought that there is an additional effort required, simply view the idea as unattainable, or decide we are not worthy or deserving enough to feel happier than we do.
Before I spent three months traveling in India and southeast Asia, I neglected to use the term goddess at all because it implied there is something to change about who I am. But at the end of my journey, as I pioneered my way through southern Bali alone on my motorbike, I think I may have met her for the very first time.
Riding solo down those winding roads gave me such a sense of ease that I have no words to describe it other than "godliness." With no agenda, no one to answer to, and nothing inhibiting me from exploring my true nature, I realized that my divinity was actually me: A Sagittarius who truly loves to be by herself, explore, learn, and say YES!
What I learned most on my trip is that we don't really know the extent of our light if we never give ourselves a chance to experience it fully. We must find the courage to give ourselves the time, space and permission to discover who we truly are at our core if we ever want to be happy, healthy, or make a difference in this world.
"Through courage we do not reduce our fear, we go beyond it."
- Chogyam Trungpa
So, below please enjoy five practical steps to discovering and embodying your inner goddess. Because from this place, you don't question anything. You realize that everything that is happening to you is for your own evolution. You take nothing for granted and turn obstacles into appreciations. People come in and out of your life for divine reasoning. And nothing... nothing, is random.
Drop expectations about what happiness looks like.
The first step is to drop anything and everything anyone has ever told you about doing things "the right way." I invite you to drop the stories about your smallness, that you must make a certain amount of money by a certain age, be married, be single, be skinny, be well-traveled, be confident, and/ or be successful by society's standards. Because anything anyone has ever told you or that you have heard in the media about what it means to be happy is based upon somebody else's fears and conditioning. Why would we choose to take that on unnecessarily?
Take the Sacred Pause.
The concept of the "Sacred Pause," introduced to me by Buddhist Dharma teacher Tara Brach, helps us to release programmed behaviors and directly connect to our unique truth. We all have patterns that once served us but are no longer helpful, so we re-train the body/ mind to relax and be in the present moment by accessing the breath. So right now, it would be okay to drop everything you are doing and breathe. Focus on the exhale part of your breath. Start to breathe deeper. Ride that exhale breath all the way down to its finish, and pause again. On your next inhale, envision that you are worthy of this pause you are taking, and on your exhale feel the effects of this personal belief on your entire body, watching and feeling your physical body relax.
Acknowledge your inner masculine and feminine.
Did you know that no matter your gender, you are generally relating more strongly to an inner masculine or feminine energy? These energies are referred to as yin and yang in Chinese philosophy, and ida and pingala in the Vedic tradition. We have a responsibility as humans to keep our own energies in check so that we are not taking out our imbalance on our partners. Until we have mastered our relationship between the inner masculine (God) and feminine (Goddess), we will always have a hard time relating in our external relationships. When we do the work of becoming aware and reconciling our own energies, we begin to assess where our basic human needs were perhaps not met growing up, and develop a spacious awareness around behaviors that are familiar, but outdated.
Travel abroad. For as long as you can, with whatever budget you have. Preferably alone.
The reason I mention taking a trip abroad is because it typically forces us to invert our daily lifestyles in a way that encourages us to spiritually evolve. In yoga we call this practice pratipaksha bhavana, or "cultivating the opposite." Getting away from the chatter of our home environment can give us the geographical and energetic space to be able to observe our thoughts only. Immersing ourselves in different cultures and traditions, while it can sometimes be uncomfortable and unpleasant, causes us to call into question certain behaviors which keep us feeling stuck and consider what the opposite might begin to look like. Doing it alone is an added bonus in that you are not constricted by the timelines or desires of another.
Be patient, gentle and kind with yourself.
The process of discovering your inner goddess, for some of us, involves meeting ourselves for the very first time. It is harder for some over others due to childhood or past-life programming, where some people had to build their inner walls thicker and stronger around the heart in order to protect themselves physically, emotionally, mentally from their inner or outer world and lost their true essence in the process. It is not where we have decided to go in our past, but the decisions we choose here and now that matter. To fully embody your divinity means trusting something that cannot be touched or seen. In the shaky, sometimes dark, practice of going within, it's the understanding that the light would have no meaning without the dark.