“Your relationships with todas las madres, the many mothers, will most likely be ongoing ones, for the need for guidance and advisement is never outgrown, nor, from the point of view of women’s deep creative life, should it ever be.”

From Women Who Run with the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estés

Our hunger for an abundant, well-rounded life is primal. Women are not content to simply survive. We search for purpose in all corners of our lives, and if we can’t find it, we will create it. This is our female intuition at work, which we’ve inherited from all the generations before us, and we will pass it on to the generations after.

But as we know, these things are not just passed through blood. On Mother’s Day, we’re encouraged to celebrate the women who birthed us, who raised us, who sheltered us, who fed us. But we have so many other mothers to be thankful for. I know I do. I am thankful for the women who have nurtured my growth, who have explored new frontier with me, and opened doors I didn’t know existed. Without them, my female intuition would be…well, non-existent.

A group of women with no inhibitions who work hard and play the hardest
photo by Kevin O’Neill Stoll

Entrepreneurs: The Mentors Who Have No Fear

“[a woman] must set for herself a something in life that she is willing to reach for and therefore take risks for. It is through this process that she sharpens her intuitive powers.”

There are a handful of women I put on my CV as personal references. These women have been influential in my evolution not just as a professional, but as a person. I’ve lived in California, New York, Georgia state, Germany, and now the Netherlands. But no matter where I am, I can contact them in a time of need, even just to talk things through.

And with every woman that has come into that fold, I’ve taken more risks. I push myself harder to become someone I haven’t met yet, but someone they know is coming. They see a fire when all I see is smoke.

That “something in life” that Estés describes has changed for me over the years, but at the moment, it’s my personal happiness. Navigating my way to that destination is a long journey, but my mentors have guided me along the way.

One of the most inspiring chefs I know

Chefs: The Creators Who Cannot Be Satiated

“When we are connected to the instinctual self, to the soul of the feminine which is natural and wild, then instead of looking over whatever happens to be on display, we say to ourselves ‘What am I hungry for?’”

I realized recently that cooking has been a shining gateway to finding my female intuition. And I’m not talking about how to read a cookbook – I’ve been able to do that for a while. I’m talking about knowing when a recipe needs more spice, or sensing when a dish is almost finished just by how the aroma fills my home. Or even simply the joy that comes with using a knife properly.

And those cooking instincts have unlocked other aspects of my physical intuition. I know how my body reacts to food, but I also know how it reacts to sleep and stress. I understand now that when I feel like my legs are restless and I want to open all the windows, I need to go on a short day trip and explore.

And the chefs have taught me more than just understanding the pulls and pinches of my gut. They’ve also shown me how understanding my instincts leads to bigger and better decision-making. They showed me that my path could not be paved by my 20-year-old self, but instead requires constant maintenance.

It’s unlikely that I’ll create the happiness I want without learning and changing. Like a dish that’s only cooked on the stove for an hour, won’t I become more rich, more flavorful, and more tender as I marinate and simmer over time?

My mother is more in tune with her intuition than anyone I know, even when she seems unsure of herself

My Own Mother: The First Pack Leader

“Baba Yaga, the Wild Mother…is the model for being true to the Self.”

Women need to know that we ourselves are a priority. That was one of the hardest but most important lessons I learned from my mother. We are so used to caring about the needs of others, of putting their needs above our own, but if we can’t take care of ourselves, how can we expect our pack to thrive?

I have easily dismissed my own needs in order to get shit done (That’s how we make it happen, right?). But often I do so at my own expense. I wander off the path of obtaining my personal happiness, but then find myself in a labyrinth of other concerns.

But my mother is my North Star, my guiding light when the night seems too dark. She reminds me I have my own journey to complete, and then somehow I find myself back on the right path.

But occasionally she doesn’t shine because she’s lost on her own path, too. There was a time when that made me angry. Even when I wasn’t lost, I still depended on her to guide me. I thought I needed my mother to be my female intuition. What I realized, however, is that she was igniting it for me.

Other Americans who came to Germany with the US government because of commitments not just to family, but to themselves

Myself: My Own Wild Woman

I’ve written previously about losing sight of my self worth in 2018, when I first moved to the Netherlands. I know now that, while much of it was due to major life changes (like moving to a new country), I had also lost touch with my female intuition. This year, I’ve made an effort to focus more on my own happiness, and on redefining my self worth.

Sometimes we lose sight of our intuition. It gets lost somewhere inside of us. We stop feeling that pinch in our guts when danger is near, our nights are filled with darkness rather than dreams, and we start doubting ourselves.

I’m finding incredible satisfaction in helping other women be the best versions of themselves that they can be. I can’t hire them, I’m not teaching them marketable skills for a resume, or even helping them find a place to live. But I believe I’m helping women learn to love themselves. I’m making our pack stronger. And when women support each other, incredible things happen.

Ready to meet your pack? Check out our events for online webinars and meetups!

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Sterling Schuyler
Sterling Schuyler moved to Rotterdam in June 2018 from Bavaria, Germany, but she is originally from the United States. As a result, she has restarted her career three times, and currently works as a freelance marketing consultant. Whether you want to know more about her professional development, have questions about her own struggles, or just want to grab a coffee, she’ll be happy to hear from you.

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