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Welcome To The Essential Feminine Blog

Welcome To The Essential Feminine Blog

Waking Up, Taking Risks

September 8th, 2009

Have you long had the sense that you are here to live a big life? Perhaps you have already achieved great success in particular areas of your life but are certain there is something more—and that something “more” has little to do with quantity and everything to do with quality.  There is a life awaiting you that is profoundly beautiful and richly satisfying, and suddenly you are willing to cross any terrain in order to meet it.

 Going to the Outer Edge

 In seeking to find the unblurred truth of your purpose and destiny, you may feel at times as though you’re caught in a maze of cultural conditioning and familial influences, along with some of your own once-useful, now outdated attitudes and beliefs. You’re not alone. Most of us have, for varying periods of time, taken to hibernating in an attempt to protect ourselves from both real and imagined dangers. When the pressures of living in a fast-moving world have felt overwhelming, a long, deep “nap” has seemed to be a reasonable coping technique. Then comes a point—one you’ve undoubtedly reached—where the cost of missing the sheer grandeur of life’s depth and breadth is too high a price to pay.  Waking up becomes the imperative.

 In a status quo culture, remembering what you’re here for and consciously choosing the life you were meant to live is risky business. It makes skydiving and walking on hot coals seem rather tame, although there is a distinct similarity. Like most extreme sports, diving fully into life is a conscious act that requires an artful synthesis of calculated risks, preparation and skillful planning.  When you whole-heartedly embark on the “Hero’s Journey” (that solitary quest to discover your true life) and when you make an agreement with yourself to wake up and allow all that has stopped you in the past to drop away, you discover an amazing paradox: You actually do  have the assistance and support of your true friends, the world and the entire universe.

Maureen Simon    

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Can I Join You in the Pool – A Question that Muslim Women Are Asking in France

September 2nd, 2009

I recently read an article about  a woman who tried to go swimming in a head to toe burquini.  Burquinis are swim attire designed for Muslim women to allow them to swim in public while following her religious requirement of being fully covered in public. The woman felt that she was being segregated. For many years religious attire has been a hot topic in France as many news agencies have reported about the banning of the head scarves schools and public settings.

The pool officials insisted that it was not the woman who was being banned, but that her swimsuit was not allowed based on Frances strict hygiene rules for pools. The issue brings up some every interesting questions. Firstly, I have worked closely with a number of Muslim women and have always wondered how they can become fit while they participate in community activities that relate to sport. Many believe that Koranic law requires that women be covered from head-to-toe in public. When I heard about the Burquini it seemed to be a solution that could allow for physical activity that many women yearn for. As I read more about France’s hygiene requirement banning full dress in pools, I began to see a direct conflict. And that door that was beginning to open for Muslim women slammed shut.

How can these women get their needs met?  How can they swim and hike and participate in community life?  How different is a wetsuit that covers one from head to toe, but is reserved in most cases for pools or the sea from a burquini?  Is a traditional wetsuit condemned from pools?  How much of Frances’ hygiene rules truly relate to hygiene and how much of the rule is discriminatory or limiting?  Many believe that their recent banning of full head scarves in public was discriminatory?

I believe that it is time for Muslim women to speak out and to let their needs be known. It is essential that they stand up for their rights to use public facilities as they rest at ease the minds of those concerned with hygiene issues.  A mutually agreeable solution that can allow women the freedom that they need to create or maintain good health through physical activity and open participation in their community is possible. There must be a way to find common ground.

Maureen Simon    

A Daring Adventure, Or Nothing

September 1st, 2009

“Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.”

Helen Keller

I can’t imagine a more truthful bit of wisdom.  The question is how daring do we want this adventure – our life – to be.  I believe Helen Keller was a model for daring and a model for living beyond all restrictions.  When I think of Helen Keller I begin to re-evaluate my own potential.

I come from the Celtic tradition, steeped in Celtic Wisdom which originates from an ancient culture which valued personal relationships and friendship, the rhythms of nature, including the interplay between light and dark, and creativity, magic, and beauty.  It revered the soul as an expression of unity and a symbol of oneness.  So, at these times turn to periods of quiet and self-reflection to seek the answers to the questions below.

What are the restrictions in my life that are holding me back from seeing life and living live as a daring adventure? 

  1. What will it now take for me to move into a new realm of possibilities and adventure in the months to come?
  2. What is one small step that I am now willing to make to live more in the world of adventure and possibility?

Slowing myself down to answer these questions of inner reflection is one technique I use to get myself on course.  Repeating the process is a way to keep the journey in the right direction.  In conscious living it becomes our responsibility to stop all busyness and to reflect on what is possible.  Join me.  Give some thought to the questions above – because it is in your thoughtful inquiry that newness and opportunity is born.

Maureen Simon    

A Problem Is a Chance for You to Do Your Best

August 25th, 2009

A problem is a chance for you to do your best.

Duke Ellington

 A problem is an opportunity.  When I look back over my life I realize that each problem had a distinct lesson attached to it. Sometimes these lessons did not become clear until many years later. I remember many challenging times when I lived in London that did not make sense to me at the time, but now have become pillars of strength as I look back and remember lessons learned. Failed relationships, problems with finances, issues with friends and family and even our health all carry a special message.  What does it mean if a relationship that you are dealing with feels disharmonious, is there something to learn about this? How can you become more clear about your ability to gather and glean information from both your history and your current situations.

 As I mentioned my life in London held many challenges, new culture, difficult relationship, and a loss of all that was familiar to me in my day-to-day life.  At thirty I literally started my life over.  The support that I needed was not there.  I learned to turn within. I studied subjects such as loneliness to understand what the root of loneliness is.  I learned that I had all I needed within   myself. And that I just needed to relax, look at the parts of my life that was working and build upon them.  I think we all have moments where problems feel overwhelming, but in reality they are great indicators for lessons that need to be learned.


Maureen Simon    

Beyond Uncertainty

August 23rd, 2009

More so than ever before in the last fifty years, uncertainty is a part of everyday life. We are living today in a time when a lack of economic security, stressed relationships, and world upheaval puts pressure on each of us.  To flourish in the face of this pressure, it is necessary to step back, take charge and consider what goal we want to move towards.  An important question to ask is:  What do I want to come of this?   Since doubt comes when we hold conflicting desires, being clear of our purpose is the first step in becoming free from our doubts and fears.  Knowing our purpose and holding it steadfastly allows the things we need to come towards us. 

 By understanding our purpose and ourselves, we can be confident in the face of the world’s uncertainty.  If our purpose is aligned with hope and the highest possible good, it cannot fail.  So, ask yourself where your greatest about of uncertainty lies.  Ask why it exists in your life at this time and what you can learn about yourself from it.  Ask what is the highest good that can come from it.  Let the answers come to you and you may be surprised at you inner strength and reserves.


Maureen Simon  
Maureen J. Simon Consulting
(415) 381-5115

Personal Responsibility in Leadership Serves All

August 19th, 2009

As a nation, we have projected a sense of righteousness and superiority attitudes that are deeply resented in world.  Separateness and superiority have become our way of life, rooted deeply in fear.  I question– is our way of living necessarily “right”?  Many aspects of American life are unraveling before our very eyes (such as, the ability to live and lead from truth and the ability to care for the whole, our health care system, our economic foundation). I wonder who are we to put forth our superiority?  Collective responsibility expressed through empathy and understanding would benefit us all.  Therefore, one of the most important things we need in the world today is for each of us to have a sense of what it is like to walk in the shoes of another. 

 In order for our collective responsibility to change, we must change on a personal level.  Attempting to change collective responsibility will fail, as it is a symptom and not the disease.  For true change, we must accept our personal responsibility to move beyond fear, selfishness and superiority to a place of deep understanding and care for the benefit of all.  Women are particularly needed to lead this new way of living/leading because we who give birth, by our very nature hold the potential for compassion for all (the whole).  It is my wish that women step forward today and take a greater lead in where our collective (world) is headed.  It is my passion to help that to happen.


Maureen Simon    

Needing Women Leaders

August 14th, 2009

Several years ago in a blog entitled “Are Women In The US Really Leading?”, I commented on a global survey ranking women in the area of gender equality that was compiled by “The White House Project”.  The survey stated that “The United States ranks 22nd out of 115 countries.”  The report utilized 4 measurement standards: economic participation and opportunity, educational attainment, health and survival, and political empowerment.  We came in first for Health and Survival, and third for Economic Opportunity.  But, we received our lowest score for Political Empowerment, coming in 66th. 

I wondered about our progress since that time and went looking for an updated report.  I discovered a thought provoking and heart touching blog written by Mary C. Wilson for “The White House Project Blog”, entitled A False Divide Between Head and Heart: What I Learned From Robert McNamara.  It is well worth reading in its entirety.

As for the report, she states in her blog, “Women are still vastly underrepresented in the halls of power. As the soon-to-be-released “White House Project Report: Benchmarking Women’s Leadership” has found, women are far from parity in every sector, from business and politics to sports and religion. Projections show that it will take decades to reach even a critical mass in many of these arenas; and the women who do make it into positions of power often do so at great sacrifice.”

 Do we have decades?

 Becoming leaders takes courage and determination and most of all a willingness to step forward.  It can not and will not be done for us.  Though, each of us must take that step for ourselves, we need not do it alone.



Maureen Simon    

Actors on a Stage

August 9th, 2009

“Do not take life’s experiences too seriously.  Above all, do not let them hurt you, for in reality they are nothing but dream experiences…  If circumstances are bad and you have to bear them, do not make them a part of yourself.  Play your part in life, but never forget that it is only a role.”

Paramahansa Yogananda

 Paramahansa Yogananda is one of my all time favorite teachers in life.  He truly has taught me to live life as if I am acting on a stage.  For this, I hold great gratitude to him.  Each day, life can feel very serious as though this moment and today are all that really matter.  But like most experiences in life, if you look back on a day that seemed to be your all time worst, today in retrospect it may feel far less significant.  Another thought that crosses my mind frequently is how important it is for me to step out of my life and to look at things from an aerial view, from a bigger picture.  Most times, the things that seem so important on the ground hold very little importance when I look at their overall relevance.

 So the lesson for me is to take things easy, to take things as they come.  I am committed to learning, to go with the flow and to allow my life to unfold as though I were an actor on the stage.


Maureen Simon

Owning Who You Are

August 5th, 2009

Often when I speak with women in my consultancy I hear quotes such as: “I don’t think I have ever “owned” who I am – or internalized my greatest gifts. I am stuck.” Often women who are finding their true value and voice feel unclear about their greatest gifts and strengths. In order for us to make a significant contribution in the world we need to understand our gifts and claim and live them.

Some thoughts on Owning Who You Are:

     ~ To own who you are is to be clear about what you value and what you are here to express and contribute.

     ~ It involves prioritizing ones self and one’s needs so that one can be fully present.

     ~ It involves moving into your own skin fully so that you can voice and show up in a way that allows your full expression.

When we live fully expressed our life takes on a new meaning, energy and joy.

Maureen Simon

The Importance of Finding Our Life’s Purpose

July 29th, 2009

There is a great joy, lightness and a sense of knowing which prevails when we understand the purpose of our lives. The road to this destination can sometimes feel long and winding. People often speak of confusion, fear and a lack of clarity setting in. They are all part of the journey, the journey of knowing. They are actually some very clear indicators that can guide us along the way when we take note of them and use them to understand ourselves. As we come to know ourselves, we learn our purpose. It is only when we fully know the reason that we are here can we live in a fully inspired way. Our world is busy, so filled with things that need to be done. We often believe that we should ignore our feelings in order to achieve, push, drive or reach a given result. I am no longer convinced that this is true. I have found that taking time for listening in silence, observing signs, patterns and repeated feelings moves me closer to my purpose as well as allowing me to get more done. As John O’Donohue says in his book “Anam Cara” “It is in the depths of your life that you will discover the invisible necessity that has brought you here. When you begin to decipher this, your gift and giftedness come alive. Your heart quickens and the urgency of living rekindles your creativity.” We need creativity today for the world faces change at every side. It is only by our creativity that we can break the patterns of the past and bring a fresh new world into being. Dare to bring forth your gifts.

Maureen Simon