Recently I invited a beautiful friend of mine, Sara Brooke creator of The Space In Between, to have an important conversation about cultivating healthy and harmonious relationships amongst women.
We wanted to have this conversation because we’ve both personally experienced the shadow side of female friendships: shaming, judgement, competition and being burned. Friendships which have had undercurrents of jealousy and insecurity.
We’ve also noticed this in the lives of the many women we cross paths with, in our work and in the circles of women we move amongst.
Eventually, we’ve learned to withdraw from such relationships, and have felt unsafe to strike up new friendships, out of self-protection and for fear of the pattern recurring again.
What follows is a sense of aloneness and isolation.
Does this sound like a familiar story?
And, what if there is another way that feels better?
These scars highlight the wounding of the Shadow Feminine.
This isn’t limited to friendships – you may have experienced it with your mother, grandmother, aunts, sisters, nieces, daughters.
It’s a pattern that is all pervasive and deeply woven into the story of our culture.
It’s also a story that can change, if we take ownership and change it.
This old story separates women from abundant energy, love and power – the kind that is created when women come together to genuinely support, celebrate and uplift one another.
When women gather in this way, the empowered feminine comes to vibrant life as an unstoppable force of nature.
Speaking from personal experience with one another, Sara and I share how female friendships can nourish, uplift, and blossom you into being.
As we’ve spoken with one another, what has unfolded is so clear – in order to create harmonious friendships with other women, you must be willing to develop your relationship with the wise woman within.
Melissa: Hey Sara
Sara: Hey Mel
Melissa: Before we begin chatting about creating healthy uplifting friendships amongst women, will you share a little about yourself for those who haven’t connected with you yet?
Sara: My name is Sara Brooke. I run a business called The Space In Between.
Under that banner, I am a teacher and a guide – that’s probably the best way to describe what I do! I teach and train people how to give Reiki. I’ve also produced a number of meditation albums and I’ve also created my own ‘at home healing practices’, so that people can be their own healer, which I’m really excited about! And I also see clients 1:1 for mentoring and whatever else intuitively flows into the session, to really empower them to create a life that feels richly fulfilling, and in alignment with what their soul is here to do.
Melissa: Beautiful! Would you also share about the work you’re doing around healing the Divine Feminine?
Sara: Ok, healing the Divine Feminine has been an interesting journey for me.
Definitely when I started my business, I was very much about helping people getting into a space of being, to let go of the external world and just discover their inner world.
And I actually didn’t realise that whilst I was doing that, I was very much introducing people to their feminine energy, because regardless of gender everyone has that masculine/feminine current that runs through them, and then when it’s working in harmony, we’re whole. Obviously in the West, the Feminine Yin nature is repressed and the Masculine Yang is often honoured and over dominated.
So, it’s really been a personal journey for me over the past two or three years, actually in alignment with our friendship too, where I’ve gone on a journey of really discovering what it means to be embodied within my feminine energy. I did a mentor program with a Tantra teacher over 9 months and we did a lot of feminine arts practices, and as it always does, it’s filtered into my work.
But, I would say that ever since I’ve been seeing clients 1:1 I’ve always had women come with womb issues; irregular periods, not getting their period at all, or very painful periods. In my personal experience my bleeding cycle was very very painful for me and I never knew why.
Though in embracing the feminine, it started to heal that cycle and my relationship with my cycle, so with my female clients, it’s definitely around helping women fall pregnant, that’s part of what I do. Supporting women through their labour process.
For women that don’t have children, which is a large chunk of my client base, it’s more about teaching them that we build this beautiful creative energy every month, and then empowering them to give birth to their life, because ultimately if we don’t give birth to something, that energy becomes destructive, our emotions will go haywire, and we’ll get into our heads and beat up on ourselves because there’s this wasted energy that becomes very destructive if it’s not channelled.
The feminine work is within absolutely everything that I do.
Melissa: Let’s have a chat about healthy harmonious friendship, and for context, lets share how our friendship has evolved over time.
We first connected with one another when I was writing 31 Days of Soul Wellness, a self-paced course about embodiment and connecting to your internal world within.
I was scouting around for people that I resonated with to contribute to the course. I was working at a practice, and Sara, you had your cards there. I remember picking up a card and getting a really amazing vibe from that, so I called you and we had our initial conversation.
Over the phone we connected quite well, and then the first time we actually met in person, I felt a wall that I wasn’t anticipating, go up between us. I remember thinking “oh wow, that’s really interesting” because we flowed so well over the phone.
I want to stop there because I think this is a common experience that most women have with one another. There’s trust that needs to be developed before the wall can go down.
So, would you speak from your perspective, on that wall and the development of trust that needed to unfold?
S: Well definitely from my side, and I’m sure there are women out there that would resonate, I’d been through two cycles with different friendship groups.
One of those had lasted for close to 18 years and when those relationships ended, the five of them, I was absolutely distraught.
And then the women that I then fused with after that when I was in such a raw vulnerable state, two of those relationships also ended around the time that Mel came into my life, so for me, I was very wounded when it came to female relationships, and I think I’d lost my way of even knowing how to be in them.
I felt much safer being surrounded by men. Most of my friends around that time in my life were straight men, my brothers, or gay men as well. That was where I felt safe because I lost trust in the feminine, so definitely when Mel came into my life I had my guard up and I was just afraid of getting hurt again.
I know a lot of people might get their wounding in intimate 1:1 relationships, but for me the major area has been relationships with females.
So Mel to her credit, thankfully, was very persistent and didn’t take the guard that I had up as rejection. Some people might feel that others are standoffish or even arrogant, and a lot of the time it’s hiding self-worth wounding and lack of trust.
That wall is a layer of protection.
In my younger years I was very vibrant and outgoing, would easily make friends and could walk into a room of people and feel very confident.
So to really go to the opposite where socially I felt very anxious, and it takes me a lot longer to warm up to people as I feel my way into; “do I feel safe enough in these relationships?” “Can I let my guard down and be really who I am?”
It’s been quite a journey for me, and I so resonate with women who might be struggling with female friendships, or they’re surrounded by women and it’s just not resonating.
I really didn’t believe that I could have female friendships that I have now in my life, compared to what I had in earlier years. It wasn’t that the relationships were bad, and I don’t want to discredit the beautiful women that I was connected to, it
It’s just that they were more childish in nature, or there were high school dynamics, or there were competitive streaks through them that even I wasn’t aware of, particularly the two relationships that ended just before Mel came into my life.
The friendships were with other healers and teachers, which was fine when I was just doing healing work, though the moment I began teaching, one of the women that I was friends with sort of went weird on me. It took me a long time to realise that it was because there was a competitive streak there that I wasn’t even aware of. And that was part of the reason the relationship soured.
So, meeting Mel and being friends with Mel, even though we’re both healers and do similar work, has been a revelation for me that it really broke through the beliefs that you can’t be friends with someone doing the same thing. You very much can be friends with someone that is doing the same thing, but without the competition there.
As long as both of those people have got a solid sense of self-worth, and as long as both of those people trust and respect one another, and there’s integrity there, there’s never any problems. It’s been quite amazing to discover, definitely.
M: Absolutely. Actually before this conversation I was thinking about the elements that I really appreciate in our friendship, and I love that we naturally hold space and celebrate each other so beautifully.
Particularly because our work is so similar and traditionally this is an area I’ve felt burned in. My wounding has been created when I’ve been ‘too’ driven, passionate, vibrant or vocal about something I’ve felt really inspired by. I learned that being vibrant and passionate can trigger others into jealousy and passive aggressiveness, and because I wanted to be liked and accepted, I learned to tone myself down.
So our friendship has been amazing for me, because there is such respect of our individuality and also our commonality. There’s never ever been any competition, and we encourage each other to be more visible and empowered in our passions and the work we do.
S: Definitely. I’m getting buzzed just thinking about it.
I have gone from friendships where I put myself in the role of the support person a lot of the time, so I intentionally had a wall up where I wouldn’t allow myself to be vulnerable with others. Whereas now with the relationships that I have around me, I have people that will call me out if I’m not being vulnerable. They can see when I’ve got my guard up and through it.
So, I guess the difference is too, when I come to my female friends and you with a problem now, they will let me have a rant, woe is me, a bit of victim mode, and then it’s action: “what are you learning here, what’s happening, this is the intuitive hit I’m getting on this, what are you getting?” It becomes this beautiful collaboration, and I get such insight.
So I’ve gone from interactions where more often than not, I’d leave the interaction feeling good, but drained in energy. Whereas now with the relationships I have in my life, with every interaction I have, I leave feeling uplifted, inspired and the better of that interaction.
For me there’s this beautiful alchemy that occurs when like-minded souls that are in the same space of empowerment come together. It’s like this community charges together, where you can achieve much more together than you could individually. And it’s not that I’ve been a lone-wolf all of my life, because I’ve definitely been in and out of tribes, but my most comfortable position has been in a leadership role, or on the edges, rather than fully immersed.
To be with females now where there’s equal sitting, and to learn that I can create more with multiple people around me has been really beautiful, and it’s made life feel less isolating than what it used to.
M: Yes yes yes. When you connect with the right people, you do leave interactions a lot more energised and inspired, and this is a really important point to highlight.
Also, becoming aware of your own energetic and emotional boundaries is really powerful so you know before you’re feeling drained, if a relationships is enlivening you or depleting you.
Given your evolutionary journey of feeling wounded to feeling safe and inspired – what enabled you to begin to trust female friendships again, and also – did you know what you were actually seeking in female friendships?
S: I don’t think I knew what I was seeking in female friendships, because I didn’t have a model of what it could be in it’s most positive and flourishing sense.
The number one thing that I did, which is really empowering if people are feeling isolated, is cultivate my own femininity. That was the number one thing.
Once I started to cultivate the feminine (the yin), as a flow on effect, because everything externally is a mirror for what’s happening within, this is when these female friendships started to pop in without me even consciously seeking.
It wasn’t a seeking thing, it was just an alignment of being in the right place at the right time, women sourcing me out, or women that had already been in my community and we hadn’t really sunk into each other’s vibration as yet.
It’s a good question because I’ve not reflected on that before. It wasn’t a seeking, it was an alignment and a magnetism, that when I was in a space of self-acceptance and when I was feeling more balanced and whole that all these females started to appear that I thought “wow, they’re amazing and this dynamic feels amazing, and it was safe for me to be myself with them.”
M: Beautiful. What would you say is your favourite divine feminine activation practices?
M: There’s so many!
S: Yeah there is, that’s why I’m pondering, there’s quite a lot!
I think probably my favourite one now, and it’s funny for me who’s had a very up and down tumultuous relationship with my body, is that being in the feminine is being in your body.
So Chakradance was one of the best revelations that came around into my space. For those that don’t know what Chakradance is, it’s a practice of dynamic meditation where you close your eyes and you move your body as little or as much as you want, whilst listening to beautiful music that’s been produced to resonate with each of the Chakras.
If I’m feeling a little bit out of sorts, or if I need to connect in with my creative energy then that’s often what I will do these days.
Also, just recently I’ve discovered tigress yoga, and that’s another beautiful revelation of how good you can feel in your feminine body when you move your body in the way that you want.
When in the feminine, you’ll see people slightly sway their hips, or there’s more of a spiral feline type of energy.
That’s when you’re really embodied in your body, because ultimately we’re just energy and we’re not meant to be just sitting and very stiff. That’s more of a masculine energy, whereas when people are in the feminine there’s a hip roll that takes place and that comes from being fully anchored in the earth.
It sounds so simple, but it’s powerful and potent, to just move your body in a way that feels delicious and juicy.
M: It is a simple concept, but the development of trust in our bodies, and the development of trust that we know the right way for our body, is so huge for us because it’s embracing a liberated sense of personal power and freedom that has been suppressed rather than encouraged.
Earlier you were talking about healthy models for friendship, and that also translates into all areas of our lives including having a healthy model for relating to our body and our internal soul voice.
To develop that internal connection and trust in our own wisdom, that in itself is a beautiful practice of feminine embodiment. To act on wisdom, and trust it. Constantly bringing yourself back to your body and checking “does this feel right?”, and if it feels right, then going with what feels right and seeing where that pathway leads you.
S: Definitely. Absolutely. But we’re not taught to trust ourselves and to seek answers within. We’re schooled to ask others for approval or to follow life based on how others have lived their lives.
So, start to really ask yourself questions of “what do I really need to do right now?”, and then just listening to whatever comes.
The answer will always come. It may not come exactly in that moment, but the answer will ultimately find you somewhere along the line.
Then the most potent thing you can do is actually action that guidance, because that’s where people fall down when they’re wanting to boost their intuition – they’ve got to act on the wise woman that’s sitting there, that’s servicing, because when you don’t act on her, that’s when confusion and doubt begins to really set in, because you’re ultimately not following what your truth is.
M: Absolutely, yes.
As you were talking then about following your wisdom into action, something popped up for me which circles back to the question ‘did you know what you were seeking in female friendships’… I did know what I was seeking in female friendships.
I knew what my heart was guiding me to call in, and I knew the qualities that I wanted to cultivate in friendships, I just didn’t know what form it would arrive in.
I love that this is all coming up in this conversation, because there’s no one right way to create harmonious relationships for every person.
As long as you’re deeply feeling it in your own way, the connections that you need to make are going to happen, and they’re going to occur at the right time, in the right way and in the form it needs to.
S: Definitely, and I think there’s a beautiful act between manifestation and creating a life for yourself. There’s a good mix of clear intention and also ultimately surrendering to what your soul is going to lead you to.
There’s always that beautiful balance of sometimes we will very intentionally seek things out and have a laser sharp vision, and sometimes there’s no clarity and you’re moving along in the dark. Then the light turns on and you say “oh, thank-you divine for bringing me here – this is exactly where I needed to be.”
And that’s such a beautiful thing for us to talk about right now because there is that beautiful balance of how that occurred.
M: Yes. I agree.
Sara thank-you so much for this rich conversation. Was there anything else you wanted to say before we wrap up?
S: If people are looking for something to start connecting in with their feminine, and really activate that goddess energy, I’ve recorded a guided ritual process that I began channelling through in my 1:1 work with women about a year or two ago, and it’s called Womb Blessing.
It’s on my website, which is spaceinbetween.com.au, and it’s great for people who are looking for a first step, or even looking for a deeper connection with their womb and that feminine energy, then that’s a great way to start.
Sara Brooke is a Reiki Master Teacher & Shamanic Healing Facilitator based in Melbourne, Australia. Sara loves working with people who are seeking deeper truth and meaning to their lives by helping them discover their innate power, connect to their inner compass and trust their hearts truth. She teaches people how to connect and balance the masculine and feminine energies within and embody their soul’s wisdom.
Now it’s over to you…
What one simple message resonated with your heart, which serves as a reminder to cultivate your relationship with wise woman within?
Remembering that regardless of gender, we have this element within us.
And what one supportive act of love will you bring to your female friendships today?
Let me know in the comments below.
Much love and soul wellness,
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