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Salsa, Surrender, and The Empowered Female

Last night I danced with a professional dancer…and I kept up.  This will be valuable information later…

{{{flashback sequence: September 2011}}}

I am at a beautiful resort in Playa Mujeres, Mexico, the only woman standing in a room of about 24 other  entrepreneurs, my mentor, Marie Forleo, and her fiance, Josh Pais who are sitting on the floor.  It is my turn for Committed Impulse (a training method Josh originally designed for actors that teaches people how to create spontaneously in the face of fear, self doubt, and discomfort).

After observing me all weekend  (and cumulatively over the last nine months) Josh suggests that I learn to “soften up” and I know he’s onto something.

My New Yorker, pound the pavement, tough girl shield has become heavy and exhausting over the years.  I can only hustle and muscle my way so far-I’d been craving an easier way and I knew this was it.

It was time to trade in my shield.

{{{flashback over}}}

This event launched my personal mission to connect with my feminine energy and live less in the masculine (aka my shield).  Almost two years later I realized that much of the approach I’d been taking to connect with my feminine energy though, had actually been masculine.  I’d been “working” too hard on it-and work is by nature very masculine.

Feminine energy is all about ease and allowing.  That doesn’t mean I should just sit back, get massages, paint my nails and wait for life to happen.  It still requires action-just a different type.

Pursuing this mission for almost two years has been frustrating and emotionally draining at times.  I deeply appreciate my progress and the process though. I needed every single experience to arrive at the perfect point to finally allow the necessary energetic changing of the guard to move on to the next level.

I am proud to announce that I have officially hung up my masculine shield and let the wild feminine within me take the lead…I have thought this in the past only to realize I wasn’t quite there yet-this time I have PROOF and I’ll tell you about it in a moment, but first you need some background info…

In my most recent post for The Daily Love, I opened up about my childhood.  I didn’t have any kind of traumatic or miserable childhood.  I was never abused or belittled and I have always felt loved and supported.  Over the last few years though, I realized I was missing a very important influence in my development-an Empowered Female Role Model.

Now, let me define Empowered Female Role Model so as not to discredit the strong, intelligent, able women in my family.

An Empowered Female Role Model spends most of her time living in her feminine energy-embracing gentleness, compassion, ease and the fluidity of life.  She allows herself to be vulnerable, loves herself and feels at home in her body regardless of the shape or size. She trusts her intuition and exudes confidence. When connected to her true self, she can even be described as magnetic.

The reason I believe an Empowered Female Role Model is critical to accessing our feminine energy is that without one-how are we supposed to know it even exists? When do we learn that there’s an easier, more natural option for us ladies, if we’ve never seen it in action?

**NOTE: I posted my definition of Empowered Female Role Model on Facebook before I posted this blog and my friend Dr. Samantha Brody made this point that I think expands beautifully on my definition:

…many of my empowered female role models have lots of yang and fire. Not necessarily living in that gentle, soft place. but for me, the ability to get there, to retreat to that place, to find balance between the yin and the yang in any given moment by choice, that’s what i look for in a role model.

I spent years believing that being a girl friggin’ sucked and being a boy would be so much easier and more fun.  I was wrong-being a woman is a privilege and can be immensely enjoyable if we let it.

In the Daily Love post I mentioned earlier I also proclaimed that I am a salsa dancer.  I didn’t say I was a pro-I just said that dancing is part of who I am and is something that helps me stay connected.

In NYC it’s easy to go dancing.  Every single night of the week there’s salsa happening in at least one club if not more in the city.  That is not the case in Orange County, CA.  Ever since I moved to Laguna Beach I was using geography as a big fat excuse for not dancing.  Who the hell wants to drive an hour and fifteen minutes to LA once or twice a week?!

I’ll tell you who-a woman with a deep desire who’s been denying part of her identity.

Salsa is the perfect pass time for a woman to step into that empowered female role I mentioned earlier-our only job is to follow.  As the leader, the man’s purpose is to protect his partner, put her on display and make her look pretty.

As you can imagine, embracing these roles this has been my greatest challenge.  Each time I go dancing I remind myself to let go a little bit more than last time.  I hear my buddy and fellow salsa dancer Lewis Howes telling me “Let a man lead you!”

So here’s what put the final crack in my shield last night…

I am loving the LA salsa scene because there are always professionals in the crowd. I usually spend just as much time watching as I do out on the floor dancing.  Normally I observe the females-their grace, styling, softness and sensuality is mesmerizing…and something I am always looking to cultivate.

Last night though there were two men who I couldn’t keep my eyes off of.  The testament of a great leader, is that he can make any partner look fantastic…and these guys were the best I’ve ever seen.  I consciously thought while watching from afar in a chair perched in my comfort zone, “I have to take a few lessons before I’d be able to dance with a partner like that.”

“Silly Liz,” The Universe replied lovingly from outside of my comfort zone, “Thoughts are powerful things when combined with desire…challenge accepted!”

It was closing in on 1am and my friend Jenny and I decided “one more song!”  As I stepped off the floor, one of the guys I’d been watching all night asked me to dance-without thinking I said, “I don’t think I can keep up with you.”

He replied, “I didn’t ask you that,” and in the split second between when he finished his sentence and grabbed my hand I made a pact with myself to surrender to the dance and let him make me look fantastic like the rest of his partners I’d been admiring all night. Deep breath. You can do this.

I did it.

Eckhart Tolle said,

“Always say “yes” to the present moment. What could be more futile, more insane, than to create inner resistance to what already is? What could be more insane than to oppose life itself, which is now and always now? Surrender to what is. Say “yes” to life — and see how life suddenly starts working for you rather than against you.”

At the beginning of this post I told you the first sentence “Last night I danced with a professional dancer and I kept up” would be valuable.

That dance was the proof I needed to turn in my masculine shield for good and say yes to life as an empowered female.

Surrender can be a catalyst for soul-satisfying possibility.  It’s not about keeping up, it’s about letting go. {tweet it}

 This was a long post and I feel like we have A LOT to talk about in the comments.  I want to know what you think of the Empowered Female Role Model definition and who yours are?

If it’s not dancing, what do you do to stay connected to yourself?

Are you making excuses not to engage in your passion like I was?

Have you had an experience with surrender that you can share? I want to know your story!!

Lots of love,



Salsa, Surrender, and The Empowered Female