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Interview with Carol Haggerty Reardon

In preparation for an upcoming workshop for women, I had a brief conversation with Carol Haggerty-Reardon, Director of Spiritual works for women at the Institute for Hermetic Philosophy. She was kind enough to share some interesting points from her experience as a woman about the work taught by Dario Salas Sommer.

JE: What part of the idea "be with yourself" relates to your experience of being a woman?

CHR: That no matter what is going on around me, I can connect to the peace within me, where my true self resides and try to live from this place where there is power and calm. Naturally, there are many things to distract me and keep me from making this real connection: putting others’ needs before my own, negative emotions, self doubt, self judgement, fear, physical or emotional pain, all of these things can keep me from "being with myself".

Of course, I still have feelings and old definitions of myself that want to rule and define me, like being easily distracted, self loathing and rejection, but the more I experience “being with myself”, the more on guard I am to the traps that lower my energy through self sabotage and rejection. When I am truly "being with myself" I feel light and limitless. 

JE: It sounds like you have gotten a lot from your personal work. In your experience, what part of this work has touched you the most?

Carol: What has touched me the most is that this energy is REAL. Anyone can learn how to connect to it and grow it - when I am connected to this true, real energy, this vibration of peace, calm, self acceptance, I am open to giving and receiving in a way that I didn't know was possible. My level of energy will determine how my day will go. When my energy is stagnated because I am feeling low, or judgmental of myself or others, that is when I do damage to myself. If I realize this in that moment, I have the ability to connect to a positive place. These tools we are given allow us to take our energy, and our continued ways of connecting to it to another level.

JE: So what would you say to a woman who is struggling to bring her life into balance?

CHR: First, I would say it’s normal. Today it’s so difficult for most people to find balance, especially women, who play different roles and support others in their lives. They are used to supporting others and being the nurturer, typically giving to others before giving to themselves and that leads to depletion of their energy. In order for a woman to find balance, she needs to find her center first, she can use that place as an anchor to make decisions based on her reality and not on her expectations of herself or others. I would say to someone who is trying to find that balance, to first accept where she is - you can't change things over night, but you can accept them. Then she can find ways to bring herself into the present moment by breathing, to love herself, to take care of herself. In the end she is the only one who can figure out what she needs and then give it to herself. 

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Junod Etienne October 11, 2015 2 tags (show)

A Conversation Amongst Women: Interview Part 1

This is part one of a casual chat with Carol Haggerty, Ceci Baker, and Rosemarie Ramsumair, the three presenters of the April 26 Wonder of Women Workshop. The interview was conducted by Soribel Fernandez in the Institute for Hermetic Philosophy midtown Manhattan space.

Q. Why a workshop just for women?

Ceci: That’s a great question, we’ve really thought about it, for a couple of years now, right? There are specific questions that women have and different ways that women have of answering those questions, that sometimes get clouded when the genders are mixed and so we feel like this is a great opportunity for women to speak out, say what they want to say without that friction.

Carol: Yes. We have work just for women at IHP and just for men. The work that we do here as women, the things that we learn about ourselves, the ways that we grow as women and as people are so profound for us that we really wanted to share it; share certain things with the public; introduce to the women who’ve never been introduced to this concept before, the ways that they can grow as women. We had a workshop a few years ago and it was so popular and it was just time to have another one.

Rosemarie: And I feel it’s really important to have a workshop for women because there are not enough of them, and usually if you do a search for workshops for women it is not in the depth that we are going to go, to discuss the things that really affect us and to know that we are not alone. There are others like us.

Q. Why at this time?

Carol: Why not? There are a lot of things going on in the media right now, but there have always been. As far as the books that are out there now like “Lean In” and Arianna Huffington’s “Thrive.” There are a lot of women websites and
empowerment opportunity online and in books, but we just feel that now is the time to allow women to connect to themselves as women, not as a sexual object, not as a woman who is just trying to be better than the other woman next to her or get a man in her life or get the best job or become a CEO, but to become a better person, and understand what that means; to be more connected to themselves, self-referential , speaking from a true centered place inside, and allowing them, each woman, to be a woman based on who she is and what she feels and thinks versus the external advertising and what people around her think.

Ceci: This a great time of the year to do it too, going into spring, and you see the cycles of Nature that are changing, women are cyclical; that is one of our wonders. One of the things that makes us different from men is the cycles, so is it is a great time to celebrate along with Nature, because we are Nature.

Rosemarie: We are so connected and during spring everything flourishes and why not? There is new growth, new energy, and why not come together and have all of that energy synced to really not only help ourselves but all humanity.

Q. What changes have you experienced as a woman during your time at IHP?

Ceci: That’s one of the most difficult questions. There is a part of me that wants to say that I have changed as a Human being and end it there. But there is growing part of me that knows that I am a woman human being, I am a feminine being and my awareness of that femininity, that creativity, of the abilities that I have to connect to people on a more intuitive level all of that for me has grown. Additionally just physically, materially, I’ve changed. I have become less inhibited physically, sexually. I have found actual physical healing on feminine issues that I had over the years. And, I have found a different way to relate to men that is less combative or aggressive and I am still assertive.

Carol: For me this work is really profound, when I first came here I thought I was happy, well-balanced, in a loving relationship, and in many ways those things were true. But what I realized during the process of this work was I was only at the surface of who I am. This work had allowed me to dig deep into who I am as a person, who I am as a woman; what does it mean to be a woman? And get connected to this energy of Nature inside of me. I look back and think that when I joined the school I was actually more like paper doll. A one dimensional person compared to the person I feel I am today. I used to put people before myself, depending on others to have the answers, instead of looking inside of myself. The person I am today is stronger. I really like myself. I now know myself much more than I ever have, and I appreciate myself in ways which allow me to be happy and fulfilled without relying on others to do it for me.

Rosemarie: For me it is like night and day. I’m definitely not the raging, jealous person looking on the outside for happiness. I feel more connected, more self-referential, more of an understanding that I am whole now, I am equal, I do not have to be what the media portrays, not an object, But I am a strong, independent powerful woman.

Q. Would you say that you had defined roles as a woman in your life?

Ceci: I don’t feel that I have a defined role as a woman. I feel I have a way to connect to the world around me in a feminine way; it doesn’t mean that I have to be a mother, or a wife, or a daughter, or a sister, or an aunt. It means that I am all of those things and more, with the connection to who I am as a feminine spirit.

Rosemarie: I have a similar feeling; I don’t feel like there are roles. But, it’s more of a quality, a feminine quality, and it comes when you have that connection to yourself.

Carol: I haven’t thought of it as having a new role. I have a leadership position here leading the women in the Work. I feel a role that is very important is self nurturer, nurturing myself and my sisters, but also supporting and nurturing my husband, and my brothers and sisters. Again, what’s key is connecting to my learned self knowledge, allowing me to be a human being based on the changes that I’ve made, the way I’ve grown as a person, as a woman, instead of again defining myself or trying to act or say the right things based on what is expected of me or what my peers or what someone on the outside might expect.

Register Here for an upcoming Workshop!

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Soribel Fernandez April 19, 2014 2 tags (show)

A Conversation Amongst Women: Interview Part 2

This is part two of a casual chat with Carol Haggerty, Ceci Baker, and Rosemarie Ramsumair, the presenters of the April 26 Wonder of Women Workshop. The interview was conducted by Soribel Fernandez in the Institute for Hermetic Philosophy midtown Manhattan space.

Q. What is the most valuable thing that a woman can get from this opportunity? 

Carol: I keep going back to this power, this connection to Nature.  We have something that men, sorry guys, they just don’t have access to, and I just feel that most women, probably 99%, do not know that we have this capability. Every single one of us does, no matter where are we from, or how old we are, but we each have it, and that is the main thing that I feel that women will be able to connect to and allow themselves, for the first time possibly, to understand what it means to be empowered in a truly feminine way and “feminine” meaning self-actualized.

Rosemarie: I agree with that. 

Ceci: Yeah exactly, the power is not something that competes with men. It’s something that just is, and regrettably most of the world has been informed that only men have power; that has caused a lot of women in my opinion, myself included at one time, to be very competitive with them on their terms as they are, and I am finding for myself and in myself that, that is losing battle, because that is denying who I am as a being. 

Rosemarie: And when we think about, how much emphasis is put on a woman’s physical appearance and how women can interpret that as “I am beautiful therefore I am powerful”. Instead on focusing on that, we kind of bring it back to the inside, to see that there is actually something different that we can focus on. 

Carol: And the internal beauty that we create for ourselves actually affects our external appearance. 

Ceci: To that point, since I have joined the school so many people in so many walks of life have looked at before and after pictures and have said that I am getting younger and ask how is that happening? 

Q. How you would define self nurturing and what is your favorite form of self Nurturing?

Ceci: For me self nurturing is more than self care, it is a way that I can grow who I am as a human being and who I am as a woman, I am generally pretty good at nurturing other people and really good at nurturing plants you should see my apartment, and I’m trying to find ways to bring that in to nurture my spirit so it grows and it flourishes and actually, my favorite way of doing that is with my plants, touching them, talking to them, tending them, repotting them and giving them away to people, I give out plants to everybody who invites me to a house warming.

Rosemarie: And you do a great job, the one that I got from you has flourished and produced more.

Ceci: And that’s what is great about this. I feel that I am giving part of myself, the love that I have given to this external creature comes from within me and see that it goes out and goes to another person and another person and that is just a reflection, I feel, of what I want my spirit to be able to do.

Carol: Self nurturing for me involves few things.  I start with taking care of myself, getting enough sleep, exercising every day, eating well, but also allowing myself to have the guilty pleasures as well, but also to listen to my voice, to have compassion for myself if I make a mistake, to appreciate what I have done well, to learn from things that I may not have done well or could have done differently.  Right now it’s about trying to hear my voice inside and trying to find the answers from within before reaching out to others around me; I feel that is self nurturing in a way that I am trying to cultivate and grow my voice.  That takes a lot of effort because is easier to say "what do you think?" Or what does so-and-so think? Or read about it somewhere and find an answer.  I'm really trying hard to understand what I think, what I know, by creating a stronger and stronger connection with myself every day.

Rosemarie: Yes, there is definitely the physical aspect of self nurturing.  I do a lot of that - getting massages, acupuncture, facials; but for me a big part of it is self forgiveness and really telling myself every day ”I love you.” I take a moment every day to look at myself in the mirror, blow a kiss to myself and say, “Hey, you’re pretty cool. I love you.” 
Q. Is the IHP about women’s power? Or is there also work for men? 

Carol: There is work for men and there’s work for women, absolutely. It’s important to have separate work for men and separate work for women. But it’s really important to have workshops where we are also in the same room doing work together.  It depends on the workshop, it depends on the topic, and we decide which work makes sense that is just for men or just for women, or to have a combination, as well as different levels of work that people have done here. There are some people who have just started, and some people have been here for 20 years and sometimes those people are in the same workshops because we can always learn, those of us that have been here longer, can learn from the people that have just arrived and of course those people arriving can learn from those who have been around for a while. So we have work at all levels, for men and for women.

Register Here for one of IHP's upcoming Workshops in New York City!

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Soribel Fernandez April 17, 2014 2 tags (show)