I’m a true believer in investigating ways to improve one’s self. Once called “self help,” I think of this exploration as self investment. So, the Women’s Conference, the shining achievement of California First Lady Maria Shriver, was a must-do event for me. And, I was not disappointed.
The Conference theme was “Architects of Change,” and the key message: The Time Is Now. Throughout the conference, women were told again and again that we don’t have to wait until things are perfect to act on our dreams, our plans, our needs, or our happiness.
The Day of Transformation was fittingly kicked off by Deepak Chopra, who believes that the human race has reached a time in our evolution for the “Divine Feminine” to take the lead; not that women necessarily should be in all positions of power but that the feminine attributes of our society will take us to new levels of consciousness. He defined these attributes as beauty, nurturing, tenderness, creativity, love, compassion, joy, equanimity and peace. In his plea for peace, he asked us to imagine interconnecting with other nations and other people from a value system based on these attributes.
The day progressed with poignant discussions. One called Lead Like A Woman featured Sally Field talking about the transformation women go through when they decide to step through their fear. The actress revealed her own vulnerabilities and her eventual victories as a process of being “broken open” to get at the treasure chest that resides within her and every woman. "Fierce womanhood," she called it. She spoke of Norma Rae (from her Oscar winning role) as a woman who needed to first free herself from her own imprisonment before others followed her. We were all challenged to find our Norma Rae moment.
Martha Beck, Ph.D., author and life coach, spoke of women traditionally giving up their own personal dreams to support others . . . and feeling terribly conflicted about it. However, for some women the answer was to make choices from the inside out, exploring what was truly in their soul and making the hard decisions to achieve that, pursuing their own true north in spite of the barriers and naysayers.
The conference, which attracted about 14,000 women from all over the country, has ended now. But the remarkable learning I took from this event – in addition to the shared wisdom and “ah-ha” moments – is that there is a voracious appetite among women for knowledge and inspiration and better choices and, yes . . . self help. We are driven to help ourselves and those we love. We are improving our families and our communities.
I returned from the conference empowered and enlightened. My spirit is optimistic about our future because, as Chopra said, when we share the same dream, we manifest it.
For more information on the Women’s Conference, go to https://www.empowher.com/womens-conference