Come Home ~ Body, Self and Soul
In this engaging, empowering and honest book, inspirational speaker and facilitator of women’s spiritual awakening Leela Francis shares the forests, peaks, and valleys of her wild and wonderful way home. You’ll also be moved by the wisdom and stories of her clients who dared to touch deeply into their own rich life tapestries to emerge stronger, more vibrant, and more vividly their true selves.
If you’re ready to midwife your own rebirth, release the chains of self-judgment, be in authentic dialogue with your body, and find delight in who you are, the Vividly Woman Embodiment System will map out a clear and traceable odyssey for your personal expansion.
You will learn how to
• access your embodied wisdom as you claim your Sensual, Emotional, and Intuitive power;
• ignite and sustain energy radiance through the five Vividly Woman textures; and
• discover the gift of the three Vividly Woman lenses as tools of personal inquiry to weave your glorious way back home.
“Welcome Home! Leela Francis and her story are the fuel that will launch a thousand stories. Women are hungry, longing, for authenticity. Leela provides this rare commodity in a world lacking feminine power. She will lead you home.”
Caroline Muir, founder of the Divine Feminine Institute for Men and Women and coauthor of the best-selling Tantra: The Art of Conscious Loving
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Read an Excerpt
Woman's Way Home
Navigating Your Path to Embodied Power
By LEELA FRANCIS
Balboa PressCopyright © 2013 Leela Francis
All rights reserved.
Centers, Textures, and Lenses
The Dimensions of Living Vividly
We are a small group of women sitting together in a sacred circle. We've gathered items that represent the four elements: earth, water, air, and fire, for a central altar that holds the space of the sacred center of our circle, the place where all our respective stories become one. We've joined together for the weekend, to share and explore our soulful, woman-ful connection to life and deepen the meaning of our existence.
Many of the women who sit in this circle, are here for the very first time. They feel nervous, hesitant; some even feel scared or terrified. "Why did I come here" you can almost hear their thoughts in the silence. "There are so many other things I could be doing this weekend. What's the point of a woman's circle anyway?"
Their nervousness is practically palpable. Many of these women have done lots of risky things in their life. They've traveled, raised families, held powerful positions in business and policy making organizations, and sought ways to grow and expand, so it's not as if they're strangers to living outside the box. But sitting in a sacred circle with a bunch of women, most of them strangers, is still foreign and threatening. Maybe it's because of the many years we've mistrusted other women, maybe it's because intimacy and vulnerability are scary, maybe it's because they can sense something big is about to shift in them. Whatever the reasons for their fears and concerns, they are clearly ready to move beyond them, because they are here.
Firsthand experience is the best way to learn. It gets woven into your cellular being and takes you through the resistance and fabricated excuses of the mind. Weekends like these are designed primarily to get beneath the rational mind's understanding into the depth and mystery that lies behind and beyond the stories we weave as interpretations.
In order to make sense of the why and place the wisdom and insights in context so that they can be more effectively applied to your life, a methodology works wonders. For a group who are landing in strange territory like a sacred woman's circle for the first time, a travel guide that describes and charts out the journey can be invaluable in helping us to navigate the process that lies ahead.
The Vividly Woman System of Somatic Awakening, the nuts and bolts of the Vividly Woman Embodied Leader Training, has three main dimensions. These three dimensions: centers, textures, and lenses, are the tools that we use to orient ourselves, to resource our own deeper wisdom, and to organize our inquiries and investment of life energy. Each of these dimensions stands on its own and simultaneously interweaves with the others creating what we call on a schematic level, the Vividly Woman Solar System (VWSS). The diagram on the next page maps it out visually for you.
This system is a way of making it easier for you to explore the wilderness of your soul-body, so that you can learn from its wild mysteries. The VWSS supports you to embrace your body as a canvas for creative change, so that how you are in your body can help you grow and change in ways that will bring you greater peace and fulfillment in all aspects of your life.
At the heart of the Vividly Woman Solar System are the three feminine power centers. They sit at the center of the system, like the sun sits at the center of our earth's solar system, a fiery hot globe around which the planets (Vividly Woman textures) constellate.
We sometimes refer to the three feminine power centers as the three inner fountains of feminine wisdom. This alternative name is less static and captures the sensual abundance that's an important aspect of them. The centers or fountains are the Sensual, Emotional, and Intuitive. They correspond to the pelvis, the chest, and head respectively. This means that each center's wisdom is primarily embodied in that area of the body, but is not limited to just that area. That's why the lines between the respective centers in the diagram of the Vividly Woman Solar System are broken instead of solid, so that the wisdom and energy can flow between them.
Our body is an interactive, integrated whole made up of many parts and systems that function because of their interrelatedness. It's important to remember that each center's wisdom is primarily embodied in that area of the body, but not exclusively. For instance, Emotional Power is mainly accessed and stored in the area of the heart which sits in the chest, however, emotional energy certainly also resides at the level of the throat, where expression is resourced, or can be profoundly connected to our sexuality, at the level of the pelvis, where Sensual Power and wisdom are prominent. While it can be helpful to know where in your body you can directly access your Emotional Power, it's equally as important to know that emotions surf through your tissues and can and do affect your entire body. Sensual aliveness and intuitive knowing work the very same way, especially for women, whose bodies are a universe of erogenous potential.
For the sake of learning we focus at first on how, for instance, Sensual Power lives in and is resourced in the pelvic area, but once we're familiar with the sensations and textures of Sensual Power within us, we can begin to appreciate and enjoy how Sensual Power dances in every cell and fiber in our beautiful body and will move and change from day to day, from moment to moment, dependent on many other factors including emotion, environment, and interpersonal dynamics—not to mention physiology.
Let's explore the concept of power for a moment. What is power? Is it possible that some people have more power than others do? I've often heard someone say "So and so is a very powerful woman or man." I personally don't believe that anyone has any more power than anyone else. I believe that we all have the same access to power. It's what we prioritize as power and how we harness power that makes the difference. In addition, each of us is more or less comfortable with our own power. Being in our power may be a threat to the life we've created, the relationships we've committed to and built our lives around, personally and professionally.
When you feel like you don't have the power that you think you need, it may just be that you're not at home with your power, and that you don't know where to resource it from within yourself. "I know I'm powerful, but I'm afraid to access my own power," Carla, one of the Sisters in the VW community, wrote to me a few months before attending the week-long Vividly Woman Mexico retreat called Sacred Sensual Splendor.
I think hers is a sentiment that many women feel, but often aren't conscious of. Instead, we think we lack power and the right to it. The importance of the distinction between not having power, and just not being comfortable with it, is that we discover that the judgments and beliefs of not being enough, that so many women carry, are debunked and laid to rest. It's not that we don't have enough power, it's that we aren't at home with what we do have. As far as I'm concerned it's a far less daunting, and a far more feminine task to acquire the comfort than it is to believe that we need to amp up the voltage!
"This last two and a half months [since attending Dance Your Power] have been incredible, as I have certainly been walking in a different kind of power. One that, once given permission came so naturally to me," another VW Sister, Saria, shared.
Getting well acquainted with the feminine centers of power within you, claiming their own unique expression through your body and your life, will give you authentic access to your own inner power living right inside of you. You'll discover that looking within yourself for wisdom, instead of outside of you, is the quickest and most effective path to power.
Unfortunately, most of us have grown up believing that the power centers presented here are actually our weaknesses instead of our strengths. "Don't be too sexual, don't be so emotional, don't say what you really think, and always look for proof outside instead of from inside yourself." These are the kinds of things that have become so ingrained in us that we hardly notice them anymore. We operate at the mercy of these often-covert beliefs and values, and they unconsciously run our lives, depriving us of our well-being and ultimately of our inherent aliveness and potential.
The centers are places of energy abundance in the body that also correspond to the three feminine chakras (yogic energy centers). The organs that live in each area correspond to the characteristics of that center and clearly contribute to the energetic there. E.g. the ovaries and genitals live in the area where our Sensual Power resides, the second chakra. These organs play a starring role in our potential for sexual and sensual pleasure, which is one component of our sensual life expression, our Sensual Power.
For the purposes of embodiment, we access personal information through felt Sense awareness in each of these centers. An example of this is listening inwardly for sensations in the heart area to learn how we authentically feel about something. We also effect change in our life pertaining to each of these issues, sensual, emotional, and intuitive, by mobilizing and exploring with each of these body areas. E.g. moving our head and neck to unlock Intuitive Power.
Over the next three chapters we'll explore each of the centers closely, one per chapter. You'll come to intimately know the hows and whys of your Sensual Power, your Emotional Power, and your Intuitive Power, which will inspire further personal inquiry, which is the highest ideal of this book. As I mentioned in the introduction, the ideas and insights I've set out here for you to explore are not the final word on the topic of embodiment, more accurately, this is a place to inspire greater thirst for self-inquiry.
The textures are landmarks in the Vividly Woman System of Embodiment, planets that constellate around or relate to the power centers. They guide us to understand and embody the dance of energy in our life. This energetic pattern is always at play, though most often unconsciously. Becoming aware of how the textures play out in your life will give you mastery over them so that you begin to recognize your habits and can then make conscious choices in your own best interest. The textures are: Sense, Ground, Mobilize, Harness, and Express. And while I list them here in a linear way, they actually exist in a circular continuum that is always renewing itself.
They're called textures because they each have a characteristic felt Sense quality within us, which is unique. Your felt Sense quality of Ground will be different than mine and what is essential is that you become acquainted with it in your own body. One of the Vividly Woman trainings, Embody Self Love Intensive, gives you a profound experience of this. Through psycho-spiritual practices such as dyads, trance dance, and eco-therapy, we excavate our long-buried respective truths, pertaining to each of the textures, thereby reclaiming their authentic essence in our lives.
When you read the chapters on each of the textures you'll likely see some of yourself in each of them, however you'll most likely see yourself more in one at a certain time in your life. This is very handy information. It will help you to look at the patterns and habits in your life and understand more of what makes you tick and why your life is the way it is. If you want to see your life change, just look at the textures to see where you need to go next in order to graduate forward in the continuum.
For instance, about two years ago I identified myself as a Mobilize kind of person. I would have many balls in the air at once, busy with making lots of projects happen and always taking on new ones without thinking things through before I started or committed myself. It was exciting and creative and kept me engaged. Eventually, I started to feel overwhelmed, and began resenting how much of my time was being consumed, and how the results of my efforts weren't meeting my expectations. With this awareness, I understood that Mobilize energy is great to have, but unless I also engage the energy of Ground, I would keep spinning my wheels and never achieve the blessings of self-replenishing energy that is the essence of Harness, the next texture after Mobilize. Now, two years later, I'm much more picky about how I devote my time. I say no a lot more and my actions are self-sustaining instead of exhausting. I've graduated from Mobilize to Harness, but both textures, like all five, are important and of great value in our lives.
In Chapters 5-9 you'll taste each of the textures one by one to get a delicious awareness of each of their gifts, wisdom, and life giving inspiration.
The lenses that we use in the Vividly Woman Solar System are the Somatic, Spiritual, and Creative. A lens, as you know, is a device that we look through in order to see more accurately. The quality and type of lens we use will, of course, affect how and what we see, giving access to perspectives and nuances specific to the quality of that lens.
We use each of the three lenses mentioned above to shift our perspective in order to see differently so that we can gain awareness and insight previously unavailable to us. Instead of continuing to look at things the way we always have, we gain a new twist on an old issue, which opens doors and aids evolution of consciousness.
Here's an example: Terry was feeling stuck with regard to her new company. Just having launched a business in health care, she was hesitant to make the cold calls she knew were necessary to kick start the business. Using the Somatic Lens, we asked her body what it had to say about this fear and hesitation. When she went inside to get the answer, she sensed a quivering in her belly, a little girl part of her that experienced terror and dread. "I thought I had healed this wounded little girl!" she lamented. "After years of time and money, I thought I'd peeled all the layers away around the abuses in my childhood." The Somatic Lens helped us identify the part of her that was holding her back, and also the judgment, resentment, and rejection she was inflicting on this innocent, fragile part of her. As she reclaimed and embraced this little girl, she became aware that it is precisely this part of her that can help her make authentic, genuine, trusting connections with potential clients in her health care business.
In Chapters 11, 12, and 13, you'll read about how each of the lenses offers a unique portal into any issue about which you might have lost hope after weeks, months, or years of banging your head against a wall. Not only did your spirit (and your head) feel worn and withered, but the issue did not get resolved. You just continued the inner struggle. The lenses are a blessing that can support you to expand possibility, deepen wisdom, and, most of all, relieve suffering. Who doesn't want more of that?
Using three simple questions, a whole world will open itself to you and instead of frustration you'll be feeling empowered and renewed:
Somatic Lens—What does my body have to say about this?
Creative Lens—What is the creative opportunity for me here?
Spiritual Lens—How am I being used by spirit?
In the lens chapters we'll explore the value of each of these lenses and how the lens questions can be a portal on the road from victimhood to embodied power.
Embodiment vs. Understanding
Embodiment means the ability to resource your body's wisdom for truth. While your head is capable of great interpretive skills and story weaving commentary, your body is only able to deliver truthful information about what's happening now.
Looking to the body for its wisdom on whatever is going on will always give you pure, accurate, and uncluttered truth. Where embodiment relies on integration and assimilation, understanding remains purely conceptual or theoretical.
Excerpted from Woman's Way Home by LEELA FRANCIS. Copyright © 2013 Leela Francis. Excerpted by permission of Balboa Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
HOW TO USE THIS BOOK.................... xxv
1. Centers, Textures, and Lenses The Dimensions of Living Vividly......... 1
POWER CENTERS The Wisdom that Lives in Your Body....................
2. Sensual Power Remembering your Body as a Temple.................... 19
3. Emotional Power Mastering the Rich World of Your Emotions.............. 49
4. Intuitive Power Dancing Your Higher-Self.................... 68
TEXTURES Mature Energy Management....................
5. Sense Awareness is the Foundation of Your Journey.................... 91
6. Ground Cultivate Presence and Your Earth Body.................... 109
7. Mobilize Meaning that Motivates and Ignites Your Life.................. 127
8. Harness Sustain Expansion: Make More Out of Less.................... 143
9. Express Celebrate Truth and the Key to Intimacy.................... 165
LENSES Portals to Wisdom....................
10. Lenses How We Look Determines What We See.................... 185
11. Somatic Lens Resource Your Body's Truth.................... 189
12. Creative Lens Discover the Gift.................... 197
13. Spiritual Lens Awaken Transpersonal Power.................... 203
14. Dancing the Solar System Explore with Your Body.................... 208
ABOUT THE AUTHOR.................... 225
THE VIVIDLY WOMAN EXPERIENCE.................... 227
SUGGESTED READING.................... 231
SUPPORT RESOURCES.................... 235