Into the Cauldron

shutterstock_221833510Some of you may have been wondering where I’ve been.

It’s true, it’s been several months since I sent anything out to all of you via one of my usual blogs or newsletters.

Why? Well, the short answer is that 2015 has been an interesting year.

You may remember that back in June, my family decided to relocate our home base to Seattle as an experiment.

Sometimes, experiments don’t go off exactly as planned.

And more often than not, when you’re off the path you’re meant to take, the Universe will notify you of that– often with the force of a brick to the head.

For me, the notifications that arrived were nearly instantaneous.

Within minutes of my arrival in Seattle, my coaching practice exploded in NYC to a greater degree than it ever had before– think hedge fund clients demanding on-site coaching sessions for their entire investment teams, senior Wall Street bankers who were willing to invest big bucks for career strategy, and working relationships with power brokers like Amanda Steinberg and Ivanka Trump who were based in NYC for work and wanted to grow our collaborations to new heights.

The result? Over the past five months, I have flown back and forth across the country seventeen times (you read that right).

With two kids under the age of four.

Not the easiest thing ever (a vast understatement).

And simultaneously, a series of personal challenges emerged– the details of which matter not when compared to the process– requiring more powerful internal work than I had ever undertaken previously.

I should note that throughout this time, I was guided by a stack of human angels– like this one and this one and this one and this one and this one— women who are instant and lifelong friends, and who reminded me that without question, women save the world and eachother every single day, sometimes just by showing up.

So, the short version is that these last five months have been akin to stepping into a cauldron.

A brief pause here for the definition of cauldron:
1 :  a large kettle or boiler;
2 :  something resembling a boiling cauldron in intensity or degree of agitation; or,
3 : an alternative definition: a large pot that a witch may use to brew potions, cast spells or create magically infused items.

A cauldron is a place of fiery transmutation of the highest order, from which, if you’re lucky, magic will result.

At times these last few months, at the center of my own fiery cauldron, I found myself downtown in NYC, sitting on a bench, looking out over the Hudson River at the Statue of Liberty.

What many do not know that the Statue of Liberty was the first thing my great-grandmother saw when she arrived in the United States in 1914, having boarded a boat from Poland all alone at the age of 14 or 15– we never knew which– to make a better life in the United States.

I often think about the courage that must have taken, let alone at that age, to know so clearly within oneself that such an incredible change was necessary, not to mention the bravery it must have taken just to take the first step onto that boat.

In my lifetime, I have sat looking over the water toward that iconic statue countless times, wondering what my great-grandmother would think of me if she knew me now– of what I have made of my life just a scant three generations hence, of whether she’d be proud of what I have created for myself as the feisty great-granddaughter of a feisty immigrant woman who cleaned houses for a living, who lost her first husband to suicide, who birthed six children but buried two.

Her life was a cauldron, over and over and over again.

And yet, she survived every tragedy and every challenge, and was around to hold me, her oldest great-grandaughter, shortly after my birth. The last photo I have of us shows me on her lap at 3, shortly before her death, and she is smiling.

I realized during these past few months that, because of her, I am in many ways a native New Yorker. My great-grandmother made me so, because of what she chose and how she arrived here. She may have ended up in Philly, but the transmutation that she sought for her life began and ended with her arrival in New York.

When she stepped onto that boat, she stepped into the cauldron of her own journey. And when she emerged on the other side, what she found, literally and figuratively, was liberty.

And so, as I write this to you, I am back in Brooklyn, in a new apartment, my kids ensconced in a phenomenal school and life settling down as much as it can after two transcontinental moves in five months.

I am celebrating the return to my home.

I am celebrating tremendous lessons learned across the board.

I am celebrating profound professional success both here and around the world– not the least of which is the founding of my new endeavor, The Gaia Project for Women’s Leadership, as well as our upcoming Six Month Masterclass featuring Ivanka Trump, Ali Brown, Amanda Steinberg, and more than 25 phenomenal women leaders, led by yours truly. More than ever before, I know that I am standing in my calling.

And I am celebrating, above all, a process of transformation that ends in liberty. The freedom to choose the life we most want, to learn hard-fought lessons, and to hear our own innate wisdom along the way are among the highest gifts I could wish for my clients, my loved ones and, it turns out, myself.

So here we are. Here, we begin again.

May we all be granted the capacity to know that we can create the lives we want, even when those lives test us, demand of us that we transform, and call upon us to emerge from the fire not at all the same  . . . but nonetheless better and stronger than before.

Thank you for your patience during this brief lapse in my usual communication, for your support, and for your continued drive toward your own growth and success.

It is an honor to stand shoulder to shoulder with you, and to watch as you too emerge from your own cauldron toward your own liberty.

Talk to you next week.

With love and blessings,

Elizabeth

PS. If you are ready your own transformation as a leader, please do join us for our phenomenal Six Month Masterclass on Women’s Leadership. Come January, we’re going to rock your world.

 

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