I live in Seattle, the land of Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.), and I have it.
Last summer, in order to recover from a severe bout of adrenal fatigue (yep, I have that, too), I moved to a warm and dry climate and ate super healthy food. After a month of warm weather and clean eating, I experienced a vitality that I hadn’t felt since I moved to Seattle 11 years prior. For the first time in a very long time, everything was doable and easy.
I returned to Seattle with the hope that if I kept up the healthy eating regimen I would be okay. But come the third week in October, the cold, dark, damp of the Pacific Northwest tackled me. My thoughts became foggy, my energy disappeared, and I felt constantly cold. It was nothing compared to healing from adrenal burnout, but it still sucked.
Now that spring has arrived, I am slowly recovering and have a change of residence in the works (thank you, goddess). But I know a lot of sisters who experience S.A.D. and are in no position to move. Since I specialize in women’s emotional health, the following is for all the ladies who struggle with the winter blues.
The conventional medical treatments for S.A.D. are:
If you are open to them and can handle them, they work well.
• Light therapy
This helps also, but not as well as real rays. Plus, I find sitting in front of a lightbulb while its pouring rain outside, pretty depressing also.
The Pacific Northwest’s cultural solution is:
• Caffeine and sugar
Evidenced by the preponderance of coffee shops all over Seattle. Again, effective but not very healthy.
For those of us into natural and healthy remedies:
This works great and whenever I wonder how in the world I spent twelve years of my life with S.A.D., I can blame teaching dance fitness three times a week for the first 10 years.
And there is one more natural remedy that I want to officially put on the table:
This is the hormone that is produced when we feel truly connected to others.
You can google oxytocin and read about it’s many awesome sources and effects, but from the divine feminine perspective, the source of Oxytocin I want to bring to awareness is the hit we get from being truly seen.
I call being seen “Vitamin See” because it’s an essential nutrient to humanity’s health.
This is a no-brainer for some and a major-brainer for many. Too many, in my opinion. Thus, getting Vitamin See back on the pedestal is one of my missions in life.
Vitamin See is one of the huge reasons you choose and love your close girlfriends. The chemistry between you and these women is dosing you with oxytocin. It feels awesome and the positive effects are enduring and natural.
So for all you S.A.D. sisters, put this one in your coping basket and get with people who fill your Vitamin See tank. I know when you are in the S.A.D. hole it can be hard to come out, but make the call, the date and/or the visit happen.
It will help you whistle a happy tune for days after.
If you are curious about knowing and owning the experience of Vitamin See, I’ve got the goods:
This article was originally posted on Elephant Journal.
April 4, 2014
QUESTIONS?: Email thegoddessprocess AT gmail DOT com
March 26, 2014
I recently returned from teaching The Goddess Process in Mexico and it was a special time on many levels.
The retreat was held at the spectaculor Haramara Retreat which was The Goddess Processes’ place of birth five years ago. It was sacred to return to the original spot where I first invited a group of courageous women to dip into the healing waters of their feminine essence.
This recent retreat also fulfilled my desire to co-facilitate with the ultra-divine Rochelle Schieck, who coincidentally also birthed her own genius five years back: a feminine-freedom movement experience called Qoya. As I imagined, Qoya and The Goddess Process were soul-sisters and they created magic together.
Though above all for me, specialness ensued because it was the first time in two years that I left my creative cave and presented The Goddess Process to a group. My legs (metaphorically speaking) were quite wobbly, but I held faith that The Goddess Process would do her thing even if I felt rusty. And I was right. She rose up like a big beautiful blaze of love and enveloped all of us in the sublime spaciousness of feminine power.
It was the exhale of all exhales.
That special week in Mexico was just what I needed in order to move forward with spunk-in-my-step and raise up Phase 2 of The Goddess Process, AKA the really-real Goddess Process, AKA The Goddess Process Live.
The Goddess Process Live is when a trained facilitator brings a small group of women together to experience The Goddess Process. When The Goddess Process meets up with a pack of willing sisters, a very ancient, healing and ultra powerful aspect of womanity is resurrected and everything begins to feel …unconditionally right. This rightfulness elicits words and experiences like this:
“Dara McKinley takes you to the depths of your divinity as she lovingly guides the Goddess Process. My time with her and the retreat she created opened a portal for me to connect with my essence in ways that will forever propel my life forward in more and more beautiful ways. The community she gathers is beyond amazing. Like a rainbow streaking across the sky of your heart she unlocks and unleashes colors and creativity from your feminine core. To have had my life rocked by such a powerful and gentle wave called Dara is a gift I will treasure immensely.” - Julia Ball: stylist, boutique owner, designer
“I want to start out by saying I miss our time together in Mexico so much I get weepy just thinking about it. It hasn’t been very often in my life where all the stars aligned perfectly. Our time together was magical. To me at least, we were an absolute perfect mix of personalities and temperaments. I adored listening to everyone’s stories, both the good and the not so good. I can’t remember a week in my life – I mean my entire life – where I felt so adored and appreciated by so many people all at once. When I was so happy to spend time with ALL the people around me. When I felt stress free. Liberated. Happy.” - Lisa S: Intuitive healer, Mother extraordinaire
“Mother Goddess Dara embodies the earth mother. She is not only physically beautiful, she exudes warm and caring. Being new to the Goddess Process, I was a little leery about what to expect. Dara’s open and truthful way of speaking and acting allowed me to take in the information without judgement. Dara is very approachable and honest about her thoughts and feelings. It was refreshing to learn from someone who is able to put her ego aside and give fully from her heart. Dara is a true mother, giving freely of information and teachings and I hope to learn more from her in the future!” – Ann Trombley, MSPT Owner of Trailmaster Coaching and Physical Therapy, Olympian, Author, Coach and Student!
I want every woman to feel this.
Phase 2 is the ultimate “why” behind everything I have done over the past five years in the realm of feminine power.
So that is where this ship is headed and I am busy preparing for the trip.
More very soon…..
P.S. Are you a sister who deeply cares about the environment? Child poverty? The future of humanity??? If yes, then I MUST tell you about Marianne Williamson. Check out this compelling interview where she discusses her radical (in the most amazing way ever) congressional campaign.
March 9, 2014
While I am busy cooking up Phase 2 of The Goddess Process, I want to let you know of a very special Goddess Process offer.
Over the last seven years of studying feminine spirituality there have been only a few books that have transported my mind to another world, delivering soul changing truths and possibilities. Almost all of these reads were spiritual, except for one, which was a history book I read in 2012 by Dr. Riane Eisler called Chalice and The Blade.
In a nutshell, based on significant archeological evidence, Dr. Eisler beautifully resurrects Western civilization’s societal paradigm before patriarchy dominated the scene. It’s a stunning book, and if you are a fan of feminine power – it’s a must.
When I was done reading I immediately wanted to know what Dr. Eisler was up to today and thanks to the internet I quickly found out she was doing something amazing: The Caring Economy Campaign.
Here’s the deal: back when the dads of economic theory (Adam Smith, Karl Marx, etc.) were formulating their ideas and defining what was economically valuable they ….get ready…. left out the energy output that underpins the entire economy -> the caring work of women (gasp!)
Yep, the work that makes all of human life possible was given zero economic value. (Please meditate on this sentence.)
I know it’s really no surprise, but considering there would be no economy were it not for caring work, this error is one of the main reasons 1 in 5 American children go hungry, not to mention, Dr. Eisler discovered that our entire economy suffers from these poorly defined equations and paradigms.
The Caring Economy Campaign is dedicated to educating people on the importance of including caring work as a factor of economic output, with the ultimate goal of changing our current economic indicators and policies.
This effort is one of the most important ways to re-establish feminine power on the institutional level and thus, I am supporting Dr. Eisler’s effort and donating 50% of all Goddess Process sales to The Caring Economic Campaign through the end of February 2014.
Here is a review from Dr. Eisler:
“The Goddess Process is as inspiring as it is empowering. Interweaving the spiritual and the practical, it enables participants to reclaim our heritage as women and our power. I applaud Dara for creating this wonderful tool for women of all ages and walks of life. It is a true labor of love.” – Dr. Riane Eisler.
And more Goddess Process reviews are rolling in:
“I loved it more than I love brownies. And I f**king LOVE brownies. You tore the curtain off of something that already existed in front of me. You reminded me of how important it is to acknowledge my own divinity. To stop getting caught up in the particulars of daily circumstance. To throw myself into the only things that are truly meaningful, soaking up the experiences my soul needs this time around (the good and the not so good), and doing good for other people. At the end, really only those two things matter. I knew this as a small child, but I forgot. You reminded me why it’s EVERYTHING.” – Lisa S., New York, N.Y.
“I loved every minute of every aspect of it. It is so unique, relevant and positive and I can’t wait until my 7 year old daughter is old enough to experience it … once the kids go back to school, and I have more time, I’m going to listen to it again!!!” – Tami Brauner, Parkland, Florida.
If you were considering taking The Goddess Process journey purchasing now will benefit your feminine soul and the soul of our economy.
Below is a video of Dr. Eisler explaining the Caring Economy at TED.
Much more coming soon…
P.S. For those of you who want to experience The Goddess Process in tropical paradise, perfectly partnered with Qoya, two spots remain for our Mexico Retreat.
January 13, 2014
First – a HUGE THANK YOU to all who reached out to me about The Love Bomb. Your words mean a ton and I am over-the-moon that you found it relevant and helpful.
I was going to send out Part II on Christmas Day, but then I realized it makes a lot of sense to listen to this one before entering a room full of relatives:)
So here is the scoop on Making Miracles:
When I was a little girl I heard the name “Jesus Christ” often. Whenever my (atheist) father stubbed his toe, felt frustrated, stunned, or angry (which was often), he hissed “Jeeeeesus H. Christ”.
Then, on my mother’s side of the family were a handful of devout Catholic aunts from Puerto Rico, even one who is a nun, who prayed daily to “Hayzooos Kreeesto” for blessings and forgiveness.
Ever being drawn to the spiritual, I began reading The Children’s Bible and by a third of the way through, I stopped reading. Between God’s judgement and condemnation and a cousin who would tell me that my Dad was going to hell because he didn’t believe in God, I decided at the age of ten, that the teachings of Jesus were not for me.
Fast forward thirty something years and the universe sent another book on Jesus’s behalf called A Course in Miracles. In A Course In Miracles, a miracle is defined as a switch from a fearful thought to a loving thought. Thus, miracles are happening all the time and since “reality” is so subjective, when we change our fearful thoughts, we change our reality.
Isn’t this hot? I am so grateful for this simple message.
So my next step was to figure out how to change my fearful thoughts to loving thoughts, and being that I was recently riddled by fear, I had lots of material to work with. After months of trying different things, I finally came up with a visualization that does it for me every time (and has undeniably changed my reality in miraculous ways.)
You can apply this visualization to anything that makes your body tense/contract …like a room full of relatives, a job interview, a difficult ex, a disease, loneliness, grief … you name it.
It takes 9 minutes, and is dependent on The Love Bomb, so make sure you listen to that audio first.
Here is the link:
December 24, 2013
On the darkest day of the year, I want to give you a very special gift that got me through the darkest time of my life and it’s called The Love Bomb.
There are many self-love recipes going around these days and all of them are extremely valuable.
You can write yourself a love letter, you can soak in affirming sisterhood, you can wink at yourself in the mirror, you can tame your inner critic, you can experience the ecstasy of 15 minute orgasms, you can say affirmations, you can feel sexy, you can look sexy, you can befriend your monsters, you can flirt, you can desire, you can celebrate, you can buy yourself 30 dozen roses, and you can ______________(fill in the blank).
I deeply believe in every single one of these moves as they all work and are key to restoring/reigniting the feminine mind. But on their own, they’re not enough.
Having been on a serious self-love quest for quite some time now, I have come to see that there is only one bad-ass that leaves the relentlessness of self-aggression relented, that brings ego’s endlessness to an end, and that relegates fear to the corner of the room. And that bad-ass is called:
She – unconditional loving-kindness – isn’t some woo-woo idea that I am making-up. She is a very real force that exists inside every being.
If you want to find an obvious real-world example of her – just find a baby and it’s mom – they are arsenals of her. Babes both illicit her exquisite regard and pour her into whoever is fortunate enough to meet their gaze. If you ever had a moment of loving a babe or being loved by one, you know this intense positive feeling.
The western rational mind has reduced this incredible love to some primal survival mechanism, but in reality, it is a divine force that ensures the actualization of the soul at every stage of human life.
And the most radical thing about her is that she does not give a shit.
She doesn’t care if you’ve conjured all your desires or if you have no clue what you want. She doesn’t care if you weigh 300 pounds or just made yourself puke a pint of Ben and Jerry’s. She doesn’t care if you declared bankruptcy or if you’re driving a new lexus. She doesn’t care if you’re single for the rest of your life or in a difficult relationship you can’t seem to leave. She doesn’t care if you look like crap or if you feel like crap.
She doesn’t care if you fucked it up again, if you fucked him again, or if you think you’re fucked.
Are you getting this? There is NOTHING you can come up with that will deter her love – just like the love a mother has for her child. The word unconditional means it is indomitable.
She is the most majestic and magical OK on the planet. That it is completely and utterly OK to be having whatever experience you are having.
Invoking, aligning, and embodying this great-mother-love reduces ferocious fear to a piece of lint, and depending how close you are to her – keeps fear consistently in check.
Once fear is out of the equation what you are left with is heart: peaceful, tender, cracked, and probably broken, but true, and above all, free.
I first met unconditional loving-kindness while I was attending Naropa University. In Tibetan Buddhism she is called Maitri. We lost touch with each other over the last 10 years, but I met up with her again this past March.
Now that we are reunited, I consider my relationship with her the most important relationship in my life. Everything else flows from it.
SO I have bottled her for you … in an audio that I named The Love Bomb. All you need is 12 minutes and a super comfortable spot to listen from.
She is especially useful and penetrating if things suck. When things don’t make sense, she makes perfect sense. So if times are tough, I highly recommend listening to this audio often – until her unconditional regard feels consistently embodied.
If things are pretty good right now, then just save this link for a rainy day.
Here is the link:
And yes, for those who listen, you will notice there is a Part 2 which you can listen to next.
December 21, 2013
This post is going to take a lovely stroll down ego lane, as egolessness is one of the core experiences of goddesshood.
As a seeker I have received some powerful teachings on the ego and what a huge mess maker it is. According to many spiritual traditions it is responsible for all unnecessary suffering – from wars to self-aggression.
I received my first ego-education from Naropa University. At Naropa the ego was described as the thoughts that trick us into believing that we are separate, solid, and permanent beings. In order to be liberated from the ego’s illusions one must meditate.
For the most part, I really enjoyed these teachings and meditation practices, but there was something about them that slipped through my fingers. I would have clear moments of seeing how the ego was playing out in my life, followed by confusing moments of not seeing it all.
Fast-forward 5 years later and my second major ego epiphany came from Dr. Jill Bolte-Taylor, author of the amazing book My Stroke of Insight. Dr. Bolte-Taylor is a Harvard-trained neuroscientist who suffered a stroke in the left hemisphere of her brain, leaving her with only right-hemisphere functioning.
For the first time since being a child she suddenly had a center-stage experience of her right brain, which she described as radically connected, peaceful, and compassionate. She also realized that she had spent her entire life previous to the stroke solely invested in the functioning of her left-brain, which she described as the land of logic, critical thinking, and achievement.
In a conversation with Oprah, Dr. Botle-Taylor identifies the ego as the functioning of the left hemisphere of the brain. I LOVED this. The separate, solid, and permanent teachings of Buddhism finally had a location in my body. AND, although the ego was quite the mess maker, it was also responsible for a lot of amazing things as well.
My most recent and intensely expansive understanding of the ego came last fall while in the dark pit of adrenal burnout, I began following the work of Marianne Williamson and her efforts to get women to enter the political realm. I was so impressed with Marianne at her Sister Giant conference that I felt inspired to read her most popular book, Return To Love.
In Return to Love, Marianne simply describes the ego as our fearful thoughts and the absence of fearful thoughts is love. Since I was coincidentally in the midst of feeling tormented by my fearful thoughts, her definition hit me like a ton of bricks.
In my vulnerable state, I clearly saw how in times of stress and uncertainty my ego begins overachieving and fear spreads like a weed. I also clearly saw that when it came to loving myself (which I really needed to do in order to get better), these fearful thoughts were my greatest obstacle.
Some of you may be wondering if I’m talking about ALL fearful thoughts? Aren’t some of them useful? Sure. But if you dare to compare how many useful ones you have versus how many useless ones you have, you may have a jaw dropping moment like I did.
If you’re desiring to embody goddesshood and rock self-love then this is Step 1: Begin taking notice of your fearful thoughts and assess which ones actually serve you, and which ones do nothing but make you unnecessarily afraid. No need to judge any of them as good or bad, just observe them like a researcher.
More about this in the not-to-distant future.
MEXICO UPDATE: Only 7 days left to save $300. The early bird rate ends December 15th, and the retreat is 50% sold. If fear is occupying way too much of your bandwidth these days … then come to Mexico where you will remember.
If you would like to go from fear to love in the comfort of your own home, there is The Goddess Process. Here is a nice thing someone very cool said about her.
“Dara Mckinley’s Goddess Process is pure pleasure empowerment spoken in a velvet voice. Gift yourself!” – Michele Lisenbury Christensen
Thank you, Michele:):):)
More to come…
December 9, 2013
I cannot tell you how good it feels to have The Goddess Process out of me and on this site. Writing her took everything I had …which wasn’t much. Since my adrenal crash last year was the backdrop to her birth, here is the down-low on what I now call “not-enough-disease”.
In the world of coaching and personal growth, the experience of being enough is a popular and important theme. It addresses the belief that many folks are plagued with the chronic unconscious belief/feeling that:
- they aren’t doing enough
- they don’t have enough of _______ (fill in the blank)
- they, on a very basic level, simply aren’t enough
Now I happen to know from firsthand experience that there is a physical dis-ease that these not-enough beliefs create, and it’s called adrenal burnout/fatigue.
Adrenal fatigue results after a long period of stress during which a person hits the button on their adrenals so much that they become totally tapped, leaving them in a chronic state of exhaustion.
I was first diagnosed 10 years ago, after caring for my dying father. In the face of seeing someone I love pass away, the idea that I wasn’t doing enough prevailed, and I unconsciously hit my adrenaline button like a madwoman. After he finally passed, I felt unusually exhausted so I went to the doctor.
The naturopathic physician who diagnosed me 10 years back prescribed a long period of rest (1-2 years) and some supplements, which I took for a month. After not feeling immediately better (the treatment wasn’t fast “enough”), I told her that I’d rather start my family than treat my adrenals. She looked at me like I had 10 heads, wished me well, and advised me to stay away from caffeine, to which I complied.
So, in a depleted state, I birthed and cared of for two children, launched a Nia and a psychotherapy career, and began synthesizing and sharing feminine spirituality. Eventually my “no caffiene” resolve weakened and I began brewing green tea.
Yep, green tea was my demise, and about three years ago I began feeling a subtle anxiety which eventually snowballed into a despairing and anxious depression last summer.
I was on the brink of popping anti-depressants when I met this amazing shaman who diagnosed me and told me that if I began taking pharmaceuticals, I would only suffer more. He (sternly) told me to get weekly traditional Chinese acupuncture for nine months.
I worked with this phenomenal healer for nine months straight, and now I’m much better. Though for those nine months, my world was leveled. The jet plane of my life was grounded. Anyone who undergoes an immense trauma, like losing a loved one, or a life-threatening illness, or in my case, losing all the chi in your body, is brought to ground-zero. Everything is re-evaluated and anything that isn’t of the utmost importance gets thrown out. I divorced many things that had a chunk of my energy— the most surprising were my Nia classes.
What remained was my family, good friends, and The Goddess Process.
Some sisters have written me asking how in the world I recovered from adrenal fatigue in just a year. Here’s how:
- I stopped drinking caffeine (forever).
- I diligently went to acupuncture weekly and took my herbs. Traditional Chinese Medicine is amazing for hormone issues.
- I said “no” way more than I enjoyed. I’m a “yes” person, so it was painful, but undeniably nice to finally let myself say it.
- I did some significant hypnotherapy work that addressed my belief system. (Incredible.)
- Once I got some energy back, I did my best to eat REALLY well. (Huge.)
- I napped every day and sat in hot baths often. (Pleasure heals.)
- I re-established my divine belonging.
Also, coincidentally during this time Dr. Sara Gottfried’s book The Hormone Cure was published, and I found it extremely validating and useful.
So with all of this revealed, may I adorably remind you of three divine truths:
- You are doing enough (and most likely more than enough.)
- You have enough _____________(For this one, translate the thing you need more of into the feeling that it will give you.)
- You are enough. In fact, you are beyond measure.
If you are suffer from not-enough-disease or simply desire to deeply embody these truths, you can check-out The Goddess Process and/or come to Mexico! And I sincerely recommend doing both.
P.S. It’s great to be back.
November 23, 2013
Well, the day that felt like it would never get here has finally arrived. The Goddess Process is born (Yay!!!)… and she’s a beaut.
The Goddess Process is a timeless course in modern Goddesshood. The format is a home-or-anywhere you want audio course that takes the listener on a 5-week journey into the soul of feminine power. It is designed to invoke an embodied understanding of the who, what, where, when, why, and how, of Goddesshood.
A round of MEGA gratitude is in order to all of the incredible folks who helped make this day happen: Tami F. Fairweather (project midwife), Breanne Boland (design production), Sera Bishop (virtual assistance), Abby Kerr of The Voice Bureau (copy), Amity May (editing), Katrina Koleto (more editing), Jeff Mack (audio), Paul Jarvis (site development), and to all the people who believe in me -> THANK YOU.
To read aaaaalllllllllll about her, listen to some audio samples, AND scoop up the super special offer to the first 108 ladies who enter Goddess Process land -> Click here!
And the revolution doesn’t end there. If you would rather do The Goddess Process with me, OR you experienced it and want to take it to the next level, OR you’ve had a Qoya retreat with Rochelle Schieck on your desire list, OR the thought of Rochelle and I teaming up in paradise sounds like a week that you can not miss…. then come to Mexico!
November 16, 2013
Wow, it’s been a long time, eh?
There is so much catching up to do, I barely know where to begin.
I guess the most important news is that I finished The Goddess Process (Yay!!!). This means I wrote down everything I know about the power of modern feminine spirituality, and then turned it into an audio course. It’s in the editing phase and should arrive very soon (Goddess willing).
As you could imagine, creating The Goddess Process was major, though if my last post (published almost a year ago) was any clue, this past year was the doozy of all doozies.
Essentially, I was taken down to my knees from an endocrine system gone way wrong, and, as a result, my world was leveled.
It was ugly.
From the earthly plane, I was suffering from the dark and despairing pit of adrenal burnout (which I now call “Not-Enough Disease”- more about that soon).
From the divine plane, I began creating The Goddess Process, and the Great Goddess in the Sky had some things to teach me before she could put her stamp of approval on it. All that I learned became the trellis I climbed back to health, and the crown jewels of The Goddess Process.
With two young kids and a body that was void of chi, I ssssssslllllllllooooooooowwwwwwwwllllllllyyyyyyyyyyy made my way up. Healing required boatloads of trust, surrender, and patience. None of which were my strong suits.
I will tell you all about my wild journey in the not too distant future. For now, I just wanted to say “hey,” and let you know that I didn’t throw in the towel as a feminine freedom evangelist. Amazing things are on the horizon: new site, The Goddess Process, The Love Bomb, a retreat in Mexico (Feb 15, 2014!), 108 consultations with yours truly, and much, much, more.
September 23, 2013