Solidarity and the Sisterhood: United we rise
Whether we’re up or down, we sistas always gotta be there for each other! Anna Santoro–heart as expansive as the universe–thank you for embodying unconditional sister love! #seasistasforlife Photo by Mark Welsh!
“Seriously???” Was the only word out of the police officer’s mouth as she leaned in to the driver side window of Anna’s 91′ Nissan truck “Charlie”.
I cringed and sunk low in the passenger seat. It was my fault. Rules had slipped my mind… In the height of our sunny day joyride to the organic market, I didn’t think anything of climbing out the passenger window to ask Demi in the truckbed where we wanted to be dropped off…(insert emoji with the teeth)…
“We’re so sorry.” Leah pleaded from the driver’s seat. “Our friend is kinda feral. She just got back to the US and didn’t mean to do anything wrong…”
We were respectful and apologetic, but also suspiciously sandy, smiley & shoeless with wild hair and streaks of sunscreen on our faces. She wrote us three tickets: Leah had left her license at home, the car registration was expired, and I got a ticket for not wearing my seatbelt. And she let us off easy… But by the time she walked away, she was holding back her grin. We kinda wished Sista could hop in and join us…
We buckled up and took off, and after about 15 dispondent seconds the car erupted in laughter and we returned to the Soundcloud playlist blaring out of the Blaster, wind in our hair, deep breaths of salt air, and a bond between sisters that meant that everything was perfect–even the three costly yellow slips of paper blowing around on the dashboard…
After hanging with the wonderful Patagonia crew on the North Shore, my dear friend Anna had invited me to stay on at her place for a while. Little did I know, I was moving into a revolving world of glorious goddesses! They came and went like the breeze, some lived there, some didn’t… but all of them were loving and open-hearted. Everyday was a new adventure … every moment was flow and synchronicity … helping or encouraging each other towards individual goals or working together for our collective needs … smiles and laughter all the way. If one person was down, everyone gathered to lift them up. Epic healthy meals began with hands held around the table and a loud chorus of “I Love You…SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEZE!”. Sister surf sessions meant Leanne bodysurfing past in perfect form me on a set wave, Leah lighting up each wave with her gloriously stylish and powerful surf prowess, and Anna charging close-out tubes and beaming in the sea like always. Finally I wasn’t the only one on the beach participating in post-session ‘sand therapy’, my all-time favorite beach activity of rolling around in the hot, one-of-a-kind North Shore sand to warm up from the sea. Charlie the truck charmed me with his broken driver side door, bent speedometer, and sexy lurch from first to second gear…Rocky lefts on the wave storm, dodging turtles, Leah’s healing hands and ukulele magic, card readings, bonfires, greens delivered by Ethalia, Happy Back yoga with LoLo, the scent of essential oils, moon gazing, sunsets, a very friendly praying mantis, and spontaneous group healing sessions…
Hanging with the hens (and the wonderful roosters that came by now and then…) affirmed that it’s perfectly fine to want to feel free and loved, live simply and close to nature, pursue personal growth, make room for magic, find true love, go without a plan, be barefoot and wild, live positively, nuture our bodies, change the world, want the best for everyone…It wasn’t that we were all the same, it was that everyone respected each others’ unique perfection and way of expressing her divine feminine however felt right.
So this was life at the ‘Hen House’ on the North Shore of Oahu, and a great place to kick off the topic of this blog: the Sisterhood.
The Hens in Charlie…Anna, Leah, Lauren, me (& Leanne and all the others not pictured!!) Thank you, sisters, for such an uplifting, empowering, and MAGICAL time! It was a true affirmation of who I am and where I am headed. #ILOVEYOUSQUEEZE #Hennanigans
I was a little lost and low after the relationship dramas of last year and a couple other disappointing situations. I was a little afraid to put myself out there again, being so sensitive and fragile to negative energy. But I rolled with it, using my heightened sensitivity to consciously flee from any notion of bad vibes as soon as they arose. To my surprise, the universe started raining strong, loving, confident, and open-hearted ladies! I decided to Leap and Trust. I’m already ultra-blessed to have an incredibly loving circle of long-time girlfriends, but new fantastic Sisters (and brothers!) were popping up everywhere! They were new friends that felt like old ones–the kind of easy and intimate connection that happens instantly and doesn’t even have to be explained. The kind of people who make you feel safe and loved, creating a sacred space where you can let down your guard and really be you.
Our society so often poses women against each other, making it easy to forget that we can be our own endless resource of strength and love. We’re made to think we are in a constant competition for beauty, men, talent, status, etc. And this continued comparison makes us feel like we’re never enough, causing us to look at each other with jealousy or longing to be something other than our unique and wonderful Selves. Feeding this fear and envy makes us feel small and isolated. In the meantime, we miss out entirely on developing our own awesomeness because we’re so worried about what we aren’t, rather than what we ARE. I know because I’ve done too much of it myself.
But when approached on the contrary–seeing other women as part of your precious tribe–new worlds burst wide open! Worlds of infinite love, magic, support, strength, hope, FUN, and positivity become available. These are courageous women who don’t have time to ponder others, because they are too busy bettering themselves. I may not yet have a line on Mr. Right (although, Simon, brother, huge thanks to you… you taught me SO MUCH about Love!!!), but shared with friends like these—no matter where we live: life is a celebration! There is always a love-space available in which to share, cry, laugh, and feel completely supported and accepted. One year since finding myself at an all-time low, I feel more strong, connected, and grateful than ever before–especially for all the love in my life!
It would take volumes to explain all the sisterly magic of the last 9 months. I can’t possibly do the bliss and magic of it justice with words or photos, but here is a brief photographic depiction and a manifesto of what this ‘Sisterhood’ seems to embody. Please feel free to add in the comments!
And Brothers! Please don’t feel left out here! There is absolutely NO intention for exclusion or discrimination…just a simple acknowledgement of the world’s awesome females and the special bond we all share. Enormous thanks to those of you who understand, embrace, and encourage this unity because that makes it even BETTER!!
The Sisterhood Manifesto…
We Love and Respect all sister and brother humans, regardless of where they are on their journey.
We see the Best in each other, and foster each others’ Highest Potential.
We Trust and Listen to our Intuition.
We embrace the Present.
We are Warriors and Stewards for our sacred Mother Earth, ready to sacrifice and innovate for her.
We remain Open, always ready to learn and/or erase what we think we know.
We don’t ask others to change, we Change Ourselves.
We Feel more, and think less.
We don’t Judge nor Gossip, but we laugh a lot.
We know our Power and use it with Positive Intentions.
We don’t fight, we Flow and Follow Good Feelings.
We embrace our Femininity however it feels right.
We are happy to Help.
We Give without expectations.
We Let Go of that which does not serve us.
We let pain open our hearts Wider, and offer victory to our ‘transgressors’.
We can Apologize, and Forgive.
We can Pee in the Bushes, in fact, we often prefer it.
We love when our Friends Look & Feel Beautiful.
We take our Time because #HurryKills.
We cherish and nurture our Bodies whatever Size, Shape, or Age.
We celebrate our Blessings, and turn our adversities into Opportunities.
We look for the Perfection in the seemingly imperfect, and eventually find it.
We are not afraid to seek our own Truth, and manifest Big Dreams.
We know we are Limitless and Eternal.
We are happy to Share because we trust in Abundance.
We remain Humble, always seeing others as our precious Teachers.
We know Inner Beauty is the source of True Beauty.
We choose Positive Thoughts, and mentally karate chop negative ones.
We see a god or goddesss in Everyone.
We do our best to maintain Positive Vibrations.
We are always seeking Balance, but sometimes we tip the scales.
We keep Trusting that “Everything little thing is going to be Alright.”
We don’t settle, but we do compromise.
We accept that Change is necessary to growth.
We can Laugh and Cry at the same time.
We are not afraid to be Alone, for that is where we learn our own Strength.
We seek to Bring All Other Beings Up, because knowing our Oneness, we understand that we cannot rise alone.
I often don’t live up to these words, but I strive to do so everyday because it’s fun, rewarding, and because I believe in a more peaceful, loving, and unified world… Knowing there are other sisters out there doing and wanting the same provides deep reserves of strength to go forward when all seems backwards. Whether I know you personally or through social media or email or not at all, I want to thank all the badass ladies (and gents) out there who aren’t afraid to be themselves, and live and love wide-open!! A universal CHEERS and SQUEEZE to you all!!
I didn’t know Monique Champon very well when she took me in at my lowest moment last year–nursing me back to strength post-shingles/Bells Palsy/relationship escape in her clean quiet seaside bungalow with healthy food, positive energy, and her big, warm heart. Once healed, her door remained open—for a family meal, a load of laundry, a mooring, a laugh. Never asking anything in return, and always happy to help… Gratitude and Love to Monique and the wonderful Champon family!! #healwithgoodvibrations
Simple joys–love, sea, and freedom in the South Pacific with Pau, Poema, and Lu. If it weren’t for Poema, I would likely still be crumpled in wad somewhere at the boatyard! #LeapandTrust
Reunited!!! Words could NOT explain the precious love between my blood sister, Kathleen and I. I was welcomed back to California with this beaming smile!! Wide open arms, tea, blueberries, chocolate, creepy dolls, unlimited cuddles…clearing a space for me in her apartment. Despite my impossible schedule, packing messes, and near city-life breakdowns, she was the rock that filled me up with love and reason…and dammit…if only I was born with an ounce of her wit and humor!?!? #iwanttobeyou #cantyoujustputthisinyourmachine?
Me, Leah, Anna, and Leanne and so many wonderful brothers and sisters came together for the celebration of life for Anna’s lost love, Kirk McNulty. Rest in peace, brother. We love you so much. #lifeiseternal #RIPKirkMcNulty
My guapa Spanish migratory bird amgias, Lucia and Paula, teaching me the fine art of ‘prisa mata’ or ‘hurry kills’… #GoStanley!!
A dream come true… and sisters at first sight!!! Fellow Patagonia ambassadors and seagoddesses, Kimi Werner and Lea Brassy, plus badass photog sista Jody MacDonald, and the unshakably positive and open-hearted Michaela Laserer, met up with Swell & me in the outer islands recently for 2 weeks of ultimate sea adventures, sisterhood chats, star gazing, fish hunting, coconut foraging, and organic local cooking!! #badasses #meanttobe
Good thing surf queen, spearfisherwoman, and all-around tough-as-hell adventure Lioness, Lea Brassy, stuck around for two more weeks of sister bliss aboard Swell…we had TOO MUCH FUN! Here Lea, kitty, and me are heading off for an ultimate princess bath in the crystal clear atoll sea river, with sand exfoliation, sunset pink hues, monoi oil, in the breathtaking turquoise sea!!!! Unforgettable!!! #nurtureyourself #youcandoanythingLeaBrassy
Lauren, Anna, Leah and I forked off at this sacred site of ancient Hawaiian birthing stones on Oahu to reflect and connect with our sisters from another time who surely gave each other strength, love, and support during the birthing process. #weneedeachother
The indescribable sheer bliss of laying under the stars on the beach, surrounded by the love of sisters… #teamnanopuff #lookUP
Leen and Mom. Oh the fun we have…Nothing feels more comfortable, close, open, loving, and right than being with these two wild, wonderful women!! Mom to Leen before our golf round, “Well, Leen, it’s really only between you and I…Liz never golfs…” Who took em down?? The barefoot hippie who ‘doesn’t golf’…Y’all got WHOOPED and dont forget it!!!! #10situpsforeverycussword #ilovemyfamily
Sun is always shining with legend Sista and tube-riding guru, Katy aka ‘Kepitan’–this generous SUPERmom, nick-naming genius, fearless she-ninja, and all-around goddess badass is always there to call me into a wave, whip up a healthy delicacy, deliver me a cold smoothie, let me do another load of laundry, squeeze my fefe, analyze my potential suitors, and kill me with her quiet one liners…The fun never stops in KepiTown. #justanotherdayofyouandmeinparadise #corgettA #Dora #ifGayawashere
I’m 10 years old again when I get a visit from these fun, fearless, day-brightening mini sea-sisters Kailea, Heimiti, Tehere, and Kohai!!! Playing in the sea with you girls is pure joy!! Look out world, these surfer girls are going to push the gender barriers like never before!! Kailea–you and me behind Moc’s boat on boogieboards is AS FUN AS IT GETS!! I love you girls so much and look forward to watching you all blossom and make your paths. #imsofancy #mylittleopihi #puttheropeswingupalready #ifyoufallifall #lizzyloulovesyou
Yogini sistas Lauren and Andrea in a spontaneous moment of acro awesomeness!! #lifteachotherup!! #followyourbliss
Testing out the Hawaiian birthing stones with love and respect for the pain each of the women once endured here to bring new life into the world!! #hangon #naturalchildbirth
Typical morning at the hen house…Smoothies, yoga, Leah on Ukulele, Leanne & Anna & me singing our hearts to celebrate another blessed day!! #PrincessRestingHour #yourflowisouttacontrolanditsbeautiful!
Post session sista #sandtherapy is just SO GOOD>>>>>>>> Thanks for the eco-sunnies, Zeal Optics!!
Celebrating new life, motherhood, and sisterhood with Sista Lindsey Mickelson of CMD-Z clothing…sunshine and love to welcome baby Soleil into the world!!
What a positive BOOST to get to spend time with spearfishing legend and sisterhood specialist Kimi Werner–this beyond talented lady blew me away with her underwater skills, grace, loving-kindness, humility, and wisdom in ocean conservation, food foraging and preparation, and especially in matters of flowing and following the HEART. #whenyouthinkyoushouldspeedupslowdown #hero #InfiniteHeart
Mom and Leen delivering me to LAX yet again…and I had to make one last stop at the crystal shop, eat 2 orders of tempe tacos with Walnut quaking on my lap, and try to fit this enormous cast iron pan in my bag??? Up to our final goodbyes, EVERY second with these two is packed with love and hilarity. Epic smile frown, Moma!!! #unconditionallove #iMISSyou
The original Ya-ya sisters reunited behind the bar this spring where we met and worked together 10 years ago. Heather!! You’ve taught me so much about being open, positive, and dedicated to personal growth and the sisterhood!!! Here we are pouring drinks to raise money for our sister of social change– Emi Koch–and her organization, Beyond the Surface International-– which empowers youth through surfing and story-telling in impoverished communities around the world. #doubletime #fernetaboutit #daveisinthesidewindow #findusatlivereggae
Her grandmother named her, Ishita, which means, ‘Goddess of godesses’ in Hindi. You nailed it Grandma!! Reunited on the other side of the world after meeting one year ago in India for the Beyond the Surface film–what a blessing to hang with sister Ishita Malaviya (and Brother Tushar!!), the first female surfer from India and ‘meant-to-be’ leader of a new generation of free & empowered sisters in India. She beams with positivity, love, grace, humor, FUN, humility, and an open heart ready for adventures!!! Miss you already!! #roadtrippinwithPolininsky #cosmictiming #tushita #howdoigetoutofthiswetsuit?
Hangin on Swell with the beautiful Uturaerae tamahine!! My little Tahitian sisters always remind me to smile big, slow down and seize the day, and stay forever young!! #empoweryouth
Ni’au fruit basket weaving lessons from my precious little sister, Haunale. XOXO #letthemteachyou
Salty good vibrations with sista Lu!!! Sun, surf, bad jokes, sexy brown men paddling canoes, and plastic collection in the line-up… #pervertsinparadise
When intuition isn’t loud enough…sista surf goddess Leah Dawson asks yogini warrioress LoLo Bosworth to help with some applied kinesiology testing to feel out what’s best… #yourbodyknows
A visit with pioneer, legend, and and big sister Audrey Sutherland who paved the way for today’s adventurous sisters on her innumerable solo swimming/kayaking missions in Molokai and Alaska over the last 30 years. This mother of 4, seeker, nature lover, wild spirit, and courageous leader always made her own rules and insisted on living out her biggest dreams on a dime, in a time when it was absolutely unheard of for a woman to do what she did…what a role model she is for all of us!! Check out her books: Paddling Your Own Canoe & Paddling North #gosimplegosologonow
Sister Ethalia!! This beautiful spirit shows up at the hen house with daily greens, lemongrass tea, and stories of her youth in the Philippines…her massive garden next door is bursting with love…as is her youthful heart!! #growfoodnotlawns #weloveyouEthalia
Tatoos!! Post-ink buzzing with free spirit amiga, Lucia!!
SO grateful for the technology that keeps me close to my sister pillars, despite our physical separation… Chrissy!! Leen!!!…what would i do without our skype sessions of pendulum swinging advice, goddess card readings, hilarious frozen screens, and your unconditional love. I’m so thankful to be able to grow and learn and laugh with you two!!! #ipoopedtoday #creepydoll
Some souls are meant to fly beside you in this life…my Auntie Julie Ann is one of mine. She’s ALWAYS THERE. No questions. No judgements. No hesitation. Since I was a tiny girl, she’s helped me blossom and find direction amongst the storms of my life…I’m eternally grateful for her love and dedication to helping me become the greatest Me. Love you Sista Auntie dearest!!!! #morethanallthestars
A month earlier, Kepi had bravely squeezed the pus out of the hideous staff boil that surfaced on my ass…and when it resurfaced in Hawaii, Leah was there to do the same, day after day…without batting an eye. #healEachOther #DoTerraEssentialOils #medicinewoman
Nikki Deleon knows where to find the good vibes!!! Thanks for always having your doors open to me, Sister! And always motivating me to find a wave to ride, indulge in a steamy hot yoga class, farmers market crusade, or a high-vibes Zumba dance hour!! We seem to be evolving but our humor doesnt?? #waynedyerOHMS #shakeit #whatwouldEckartdo? #selfdepricationandpenisjokes
We must teach our little sisters that anything is possible!!! Post chat at the SDYC youth sailing program with these two lovely young sailorette dream-chasers!! #dreamBIG
Sister Bria!! I’m SO blessed to have a sister-in-law always ready to open her home and heart to me, no matter what my odd schedule or habits!! I’m always inspired by your relentless positivity, selflessness, ability to adapt to anything, and the way you always make people feel so special. I love you and the James Robert Clarks SO MUCH!!!! Thanks for making my Texas bday so full of love! #vegancake #backhoespotting
Off to Indo to fulfill her barrel riding dreams, wave-riding guru, Leah Dawson, pulls a final Goddess Card with me and Anna on the airport sidewalk for divine strength and guidance before her next adventure. Check out her amazing short films at seaappreciationproject.com, with the latest from that trip already up, about grace and tuberiding and oneness with Mother Ocean!!! #TRUST #becomeonewithyouMommaocean
Shake it Sistas!!! Paula and the Tahitian sisters celebrating culture, unity, and their beautiful bodies as they practice for the big Heiva dance show! #moveasOne #unite
Sista KatieLady–gorgeous friend and soul inside & out–no matter where our journeys take us, I feel your love every single day. Thanks for always believing I could do it … and always being ready to jump right into the hole to help me climb out–literally sometimes!! #neveralone #inmypocket
SQUEEZE your sisters!!! Anna is the #besthuggerintheworld!
Paula in flight…FLY HIGH, FLY FREE, FLY FAR DEAR SISTERS!! United we rise because #WEAREONE