Nüshu is a mysterious language that was used exclusively by women in Ancient China. Because they were denied formal education, the language was developed by women for each other, in secrecy, over hundreds of years.
It was a phonetic script, used to communicate, but it was also employed as a language of tribute, as a way to express love and solidarity amongst women. It was sewn into the seams of clothing or painted on fans when a woman would leave the village.
The last living speaker of Nüshu died in 2004 at the age of 98.
I had everything I could have ever dreamed of - a loving husband, five children, abundance and success - and felt trapped in a crushing and debilitating loneliness. The only thing I was missing was the only thing that actually mattered - a deep and loving connection to self and others.
That hole was so deep and painful that I threw a bomb into the center of my life, coming within a hair’s breadth of losing everything and everyone that I loved.
The bomb was incredibly painful, but it woke me up. In the aftermath, I knew I had to relearn what it was to be alive, rip off all my masks of perfection, and start to become searingly and brutally honest with myself.
I was ravenous for knowledge about my own personal growth and self inquiry, and I didn’t want to do it alone. I brought women together and sought out the best teachers. We gathered in person to grow, learn, share and support each other.
What I didn’t anticipate is that although the teachers, teachings, practitioners, techniques and practices were potent, the most powerful and dramatic shifts were happening simply when women were physically present with each other, sharing their truths out loud.
The women had created a dynamic that extended far beyond the teachers and practitioners that had been brought into their circle. They had offered each other a lived experience of heart connection that catalyzed real and dramatic change for each of them. It helped me realize that the true work lives within the women themselves, that all I had done was create the container to allow it to unfold.