Rebecca Campbell’s 2016 book envisions a Tangibly better future for women
Rise Sister Rise: A Guide to Unleashing the Wise, Wild Woman Within practically jumped into my hands the first time I saw it. The cover, the colours, the title, the subtitle and the author bio on the back page… They all spoke directly to me.
And yet, I didn’t buy it that first time I held it in my hands. I don’t really understand why. But now that I’ve read it, I think maybe I wasn’t quite ready to hear the wisdom within this surprisingly empowering book.
Campbell’s tome, which rings with poetic truth, says exactly what I need to hear right now. The book is an invocation and an invitation for all women to turn to the wisdom they already have. It also calls for women to cultivate sacred sisterhoods.
“As you read these pages, you are connecting yourself to an ocean of women rising alongside you. An invisible thread, a string of lights, a fierce unstoppable force,” Campbell writes in a chapter called “Your Constellation of Sisters.”
It’s powerful language that speaks right to the heart of what motherhood taught me: I need help, and so does every other mother in the world. Forming an unofficial sisterhood of support is the way to way to a better world.
The #RISESISTERRISE MANTRA
“I allow myself to be held and deeply supported by my constellation of sisters.”Rebecca Campbell, Rise Sister Rise
THE POWER OF COMMUNITY
On the premise that an unofficial sisterhood, characterized by spiritual understanding and practical support, is currently an overlooked resource for healing and support, Campbell argues that the world would be transformed if women could take the time to heal, acknowledge their bodies, and trust the rhythms of nature.
I like that Campbell doesn’t pretend to have all the answers. She muses on her personal story, but the narrative of how she specifically found relief for the pain she felt as a creative director in the advertising industry. But she doesn’t say you should follow the same path as she, but rather, find your own path and follow that.
To find the path, Campbell proposes a return to ritual in our every day lives. From these rituals, the way will appear, she says. For example, she describes one practice she calls “I got body” that requires standing naked in front of a mirror for at least three minutes every day for 21 days, noticing your inner dialogue. If that doesn’t change your thinking, what will?
THE POWER OF ENJOYMENT
As a goal-oriented person, I often find that I become overly focused on completing tasks and meeting deadlines. I’m great at envisioning what I want. I’m good at making a plan, chunking it down into manageable bits and scheduling those bits into my daytimer.
But at a certain point, setting and achieving goals began to seem … well, meh.
This book describes a mindset that is completely different. It’s about being not doing, acceptance not ambition, enjoyment not achievement. It’s a more feminine, body-centred way of being in the world, and I find the idea extremely attractive in a post-pandemic society. I don’t want to return to the activity-laden life I was living before.
Living in this more feminine way asks women to relax some of the very useful masculine traits we’ve developed out of a need to survive the modern world. We must complete the degree, apply for the job, get the raise, save the money and buy a house. Etc. Etc.
So while it might sound easy, in theory, to take a bath, hold a crystal on the palm of your hand, and do some stretching before bed, it’s not at all easy for a woman to do those things. To do them, she must put aside the other important tasks she normally does at that time of day — for example, phoning her mother, paying bills, doing a load of laundry, and shopping for groceries online.
There is always a task that needs doing.
But I don’t want to live a life of tasks.
I want to live a life of sacred connection with nature, my body, and other women. I want my soul to be present in my daily life. I want to let go of needing to feel in control of the small things so I can avoid facing the fact that I’m not at all in control of the big things.
THE POWER OF PRACTICE
Campbell’s website inspires deep and lasting change. By offering a monthly membership into a private community of like-minded women, she aims to create the community women need.
The gist of Campbell’s message is basically that it’s not easy to live a soul-led life. Women need practical and compassionate guidance and companionship if they are to rise above the mundane existence of the modern world. But it won’t come easily. It will require work, practice and time. Her membership and courses seem to offer a container for that work.
But it makes me sad that meaningful spiritual development requires significant financial resources in a capitalistic society. But that’s the honest truth of how it is for me these days. Perhaps religion offers spiritual community for free, but because of the violently patriarchal and racist history I associate with churches, sitting in a pew doesn’t provide solace for me.
Teacher/entrepreneurs like Campbell are making an alternative that works a little better. The annual membership is costly — $260(US) — so I’m not signing up immediately. Instead, I’m going to DIY it and create a circle of my own.
Campbell offers several free audio meditations on her website, and they are amazing. Listening to brief audio meditations are a concrete and quick way to sneak spiritual practices into a busy day.
“May you forever feel the support of your sisters, those who came before and those who are rising alongside.”— Rebecca Campbell, author of Rise Sister Rise