Life has been quite the unexpected journey. As a child I had this vision of my life: I would not get married, but I would fall in love when I was 28. I would have a career that put me in front of people as a speaker, teacher, and an expert. People would want to know what I had to say. I would be surrounded by other powerful women and we would share homes, be each other’s community, change the world and most importantly, make macramé together. Yes, I was a child of the 70s.
These were my visions of my life and all of them have come to pass…except for the macramé. I still haven’t made a plant hanger yet! What my childhood visions didn’t afford me though, was sight beyond the age of 28. All I could see was that I would fall in love…but I could never see much beyond that. The only thing I knew is that I would have it figured out by the time I was 40. The curious thing that happened is that after 28 is when the unexpected magic began to unfold. This is when I learned how to stand in my power…which first involved, learning to believe that I had “power” to begin with.
Over the years as I wandered the ups and downs of depression, a persistent eating disorder, career transitions and a heart breaking split from the person I fell in love with at 28, I began to see that there was so much more to this lived experience than what is just on the outside. I grew up being taught that what other people thought about me, that externalized judgments of myself where how I learned about who I was. If someone didn’t hire me then it was because there was something wrong with me. If someone didn’t want to date me, then clearly it was because I wasn’t good enough. This belief system permeated all parts of my life until finally at age 32, I learned how to say, “stop!”.
Thus began the most amazing, unexpected and beautiful journey thus far. I jumped head first into intense spiritual and emotional healing practices with a teacher who continues to guide me today. I reclaimed my practice of making art and I quit a prominent and all-consuming full time job. I was determined to figure this out. I was craving something more, something deeper, something more real. Looking back, I realize, I was longing to be connected with my power.
Eventually I found it. It crept up slowly on me like a lingering vine reaching out its tendrils into my heart. As my healing process continued, I found myself clearing space inside me by releasing ideas, beliefs, patterns and behaviors that no longer served me. What I found in that open space was a vibrant wellspring of self-love, self-acceptance and joy. This is where I find my power is rooted. This is where I find my strength.
However, what I hadn’t yet learned was how to lead and live from that place. As I walked through another devastating heartbreak in early 2011 and a career path that was becoming more and more elusive, I was forced to reevaluate where I was, what I was doing and if any of this was truly me, standing in my power. What I discovered actually shocked me. Yes, there were more and more moments of me standing in my power, and yet, in general I was leading with my ego because I was afraid of allowing those pieces in me to truly shine. Recognizing this, I took 3 months in (urban) seclusion, actively stepping out of social spaces and deepening my spiritual practice through extended meditation and prayer. Sitting with my guides and surrendering to the Divine during this time, magic happened and my power began to flow.
In June 2011, I launched a new business, Blue Jaguar (is) Love, a spiritually based life coaching, energy healing and intuitive business. My livelihood is now centered around my gifts of clairvoyance, emotional intuition and years of experience as a coach, philanthropic advisor, group facilitator, artist and teacher. I have found the shoes that actually fit. Getting here was not easy and it required buckets of courage (wrapped in macramé, I’m sure!) to do the healing, releasing and opening up required to fully stand in my power. My joy resides in me and radiates from there. This is the path I am called to walk…despite the fear, despite the uncertainty, despite the confusion on my dad’s face. Standing in my truth, of who I am, of how to be of service with the gifts I hold – this is me, standing in my power.
I turn 40 later this year and truly, this is magic. I’m not sure I have figured it all out, however I have learned how to stand firmly in my power, with love. That is what I was searching for and here I am. This journey – every step, every scrape, every stumble – has been completely worth it.
For me, to stand in my power in a community that stands in hers, is about living truth. It is about a deep practice of love and it is about self-acceptance in all things. I envision this world as being able to hold contradiction, embracing the fullness that we each carry in our light and in our shadow, and honoring the beauty of change. I envision this world to be one where we all have the space to create, explore and become as we have divinely been called to be. I believe that this space is about collective power and collective transformation. I believe a community space where we are all standing firmly in our power, together, will usher in a new economic, political and social interdependence that will turn our existing systems upside down. This is a community that breathes together – a tree with many roots, multiple branches, bearing an abundance in fruit, centered in the nurturing power of a single trunk. For me, this is liberation and this is truth. This is the world I long to live in and with each step I take in my power, I am grateful to be service towards this goal.
My hopes for Standing in Our Power is that the web of connection, intersection and interdependence continues to be built across the networks of women of color who are breathing, living, fighting, being and becoming together. I absolutely believe that SiOP can and will hold the spaces that allow each of us to grow personally, affect change socially and transform politically. I hold this transformational vision of leadership close to my heart.
Standing in our power together is possible. Collective liberation is possible. I believe in this. I commit to breathing and living this spirit of possibility with each of you.
Stephanie Syd Yang is an LA-based healer, intuitive and life coach who believes in the power of clearing space – in our hearts, in our lives, in our bodies and in our minds- as a path towards transformation + a more joyful life. She works with individuals to creatively connect with their inner power and wisdom while co-creating practical next steps to move them forward into their dreams.
She is a certified professional coach, an advanced certified energy healer and a trained intuitive medium. Over the years, Syd has worked extensively with young women, queer youth + emerging artists and also as a philanthropic advisor and giving coach for young inheritors working to align their money with their social justice values. She has written books on leadership (“The World Belongs to Us: Young Women, Leadership and Philanthropy”) and values based giving (“Legacy + Innovation”), and co-wrote the Essentials for Diversity in Giving (EDG) curriculum which works specifically with and for communities of color. Syd has traveled across the US and abroad as a keynote speaker, trainer and group facilitator. www.bluejaguarlove.com // 323.863.5814