Mary Jo Rakowski, Shenomenal Women Founder

Michelle Spalding Blog Talk Radio Header

Empowered Women: The New Face of the Feminist Movement

Today’s soulful entrepreneur and special Guest Mary Jo Rakowski of ShenomenalWomen.com

Empowered women are pivotal for the next phase of the feminist movement,Mary Jo Rakowski, Shenomenal Women Founder a movement that is founded in love, compassion, and connection.

Shenomenal Women, A Celebration of the Feminine Spirit Today, Yesterday, and Tomorrow, is all about inspiring women and young girls to be the best expression of themselves that they can be, today and everyday; to know that by breaking the emotional attachments to past experiences and beliefs that no longer serve, you can move into a new state of being – your greatest self!

When we recognize, thank, and then release those limiting beliefs and the emotions associated with them, we are able to connect with our true selves and step into our own personal power, the state of being our greatest selves.

By doing so, not only will we then live a deliberate life, a life of joy; we remain connected to Source, and the unlimited possibilities in the Universe, and all those in our circle near and far benefit.

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Michelle:                         Good afternoon beautiful soulful entrepreneurs.  Hello! Hello! And welcome.  Happy Wednesday.  And I have an exciting guest for you today, and I’m anxious to bring her on and start chatting with her soon.  Before we get started though, I do want to introduce her.  Mary Jo Rakowski is going to be talking with us about empowered women and really the face of the new feminist movement.

And I’m really honored to have her on the line today and to be able to interview her and ask some questions about that.  But before we get started, I want to just take a minute and introduce you to Mary Jo.  She is the founder of a company called, “Shenomenal Women.”  And I’m going to ask her to tell us later where that came from, but before we do that, let me just continue with this.

She is a direct descendant of the last reigning king of Ireland and was born on the coronation day of the Queen of England.  So, we’re with royalty this afternoon and that’s even more exciting.  She’s a lifelong student that continues to explore in areas that will feed her passion, whatever that passion might be at that given time, and is a firm believer that with knowledge comes power.

A certified Infinite Possibilities coach, and a change agent, she believes in the unlimited potential for positive change within all of us.  She is a confident, outspoken and passionate woman whose love of life is evident from her positive energy, her exuberant laughter and her joyful self expression.  She absolutely loves to dance to her own tune and to color outside the lines.  I love that.  That’s so fun and to dole out free hugs and one day soon, I’m hoping to get one of those from her.

She’s no stranger to struggle and tragedy, and unfortunately Mary Jo’s mother passed away in 1997.  Drawing from that experience and in that life event, she has used that and others to guide her in helping women through their own life transitions.

Shenomenal Women is all about inspiring women and young girls to be the best expressions of themselves that they can be today and everyday and to know that by breaking the emotional attachment to past experiences and beliefs that no longer serve them, they can move in to a new state of being — their greatest self.

So, welcome Mary Jo! Thank you so much for joining us this afternoon.

Mary Jo:               Thank you so much Michelle.  I’m honored to be part of your radio show today.

Michelle:               You are sweet.  Thank you so much.  So, I always love to find out from the people that I’m chatting with how they got started on this path of soulful entrepreneurship.

So, before we dive in to empowered women and the face of the New Feminist Movement, would you just tell us a little bit about how you became this soulful entrepreneur that you are today?

Mary Jo:               Sure, so let me just share that, I’m an absolute excellent employee for about three and a half years.  At that point in time, I started to get to wonder, it isn’t that the job is a bad job, it’s that it no longer would feed my soul, and so my resume is many, many pages long of listing all the jobs that I’ve had in my adult lifetime.

And so, through a series of life events, self introspection and discovery, I came to the determination that I wanted to by my own boss, and that what would I do in the way of work will be to draw on my life experiences and the knowledge that I had gained over this time to help others and specifically women.  They’re definitely my target market, so to speak.

Michelle:               Sure, well, that’s obviously important in any business — to know who your customer is and to know who it is that you want to work with, as a soulful entrepreneur.  We’re so glad that we can listen to, and not everybody’s a match for us, and that’s okay.  We’re not a match for everyone out, so awesome that you know that your path, your purpose is to help women with their transitions and their changes, so tell me a little bit more about empowered women, describe that to me.

Mary Jo:               Well, this is what she looks like to me.  She is first, unapologetically herself.  She’s not an expression of a self based on beliefs and expectations of others.  She knows the sound of her own voice, understands and embraces the value of love and connection — that innate need to belong.  She’s compassionate, always seeking knowledge, stands in the truth of her power.  She’s confident and vulnerable, beacon of life, a safe haven and loves who she is and practices self-care without shame and guilt attached.

Michelle:               Nice.

Mary Jo:                 There you have the empowered woman.

Michelle:               Beautiful.  So, this empowered woman is – this is a definition that you’ve come up with I’m sure through your learning and your experiences and it’s led you to where you are today.  This feminist movement though that you’ve mentioned in our discussion in the past, some may think that this movement has died out or at the very least kind of become quiet or complacent.  To be honest with you, I’m not a big fan of the news.  I get one newspaper once a week, but it’s not something that I hear much about nowadays, like I think I did as a youth growing up.  What do you mean by the next phase of feminist movement, this new phase?

Mary Jo:               Well, sure.  I’d like to say that there’s always been a feminist movement afoot.  Sometimes, it’s just a little more underground and not quite as obvious to the world.  I too, do not get to watch news or the newspaper, but I’m aware of what’s happening primarily through the circle of people that are in my life.  But today, more and more women are becoming that if there is to be a significant and sustainable positive change in this world, it pretty much rests in our hands now.

So, if you look back to the last phase of the feminist movement, the one you were referring to, the one that played a role in my early years, that opened the doors a little bit wider.  But women were kind of torn then; they were unsure of that new power and knowledge, didn’t want to rock a boat, not realizing that rocking a boat is not necessarily a bad thing.

And then of course, there were – Yeah, I like rocking boats.

Michelle:               Me too.

Mary Jo:                Yeah, even though I’m prone to motion sickness, it’s okay.  And there were also the obvious emotional states that were challenging for women then to shake off, that whole guilt, shame and fear.  And women often found themselves on the opposite sides of the line.  One of the things that I always remember about that time was the tendency to engage in male bashing.

And I’ve never felt comfortable with that, and I admit at times, I fell in to that pattern.  But this new, empowered woman sees and understands the power of collaboration and creativity versus competition.  We’re moving away from that competitive spirit.

Michelle:               Nice.

Mary Jo:               And we know that if we desire this positive, sustainable change, it has to come from an understanding and an honoring of each other’s needs and unique gifts and to make sure needs are met and work together — and it’s happening.  It’s happening around the world.  And it’s happening in small ways and some not so very small ways.  It would be great if the news media gave it a little bit more attention, but that’s okay.  We’ll working the magic, it will happen.

Michelle:               Exactly.

Mary Jo:               Yeah, and it’s women spanning the age spectrum who have found their voices.  They’re drawing on their courage to use them.  I have to share that I recently finished reading Brene Brown’s book, the Gifts of Imperfection.  I don’t know if you’ve had an opportunity to read it.

Michelle:               I love it right here on my desk.  I have read it.  I have it.  I love her work, absolutely.

Mary Jo:               Me too.  So I was struck by a quote at the beginning of her book, that I felt really, sort of sums this up in a very brilliant fashion, and she says, “Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process, is the bravest thing that we can do.”

Michelle:               Nice.  What a great way to describe this movement.  It’s our story.  It’s who we are and honoring ourselves.  I wanted to just touch really briefly if I could, on what you said with respect to the male bashing and you’re right, that’s the feminist movement that I remember of my youth and the people around me at that time.  And it was that fight in order for us to kind of gain some recognition and for us to be seen in the workplace, in the marketplace, but this new way of doing things you’re talking about which I absolutely totally resonate with is that that was a fear-based way of doing business and a fear-based way of gaining success or climbing a ladder, the corporate ladder.  But you are saying that it’s  a collaboration, like, “I can help you.  You can help me.  We can help each other and others.” That’s this new feminist movement that you’re referring to right?

Mary Jo:               Absolutely, I’m shaking my head vigorously and agreement.

Michelle:               That’s awesome.

Mary Jo:               There’s no point in directing energy in to adversarial roles.  Nothing is accomplished from that and we’re all really one.  We are of one and to work together as one and that includes man, and might I just add that a little, another little piece of this whole phase of the feminist movement is that men are becoming more aware of their own spirituality, and that adds such a great dimension to everything that’s happening.

And women should be encouraging and supporting the men in their life who decides to walk that path in whatever way they can.

Michelle:               Right.  And that’s a good plan, I’m glad you brought that up.  Thank you so much.  So, let me just ask you this, you talked about emotional attachment to our past experiences and clearly, even not our personal experiences, but past experiences of those around us can obviously influence us.  Would you expand on that a bit more and how that kind of maybe affects us from being that empowered woman that you’ve described to us early on and how those things are connected to our beliefs and maybe some of the beliefs that just came to us through our upbringing and other influences around us.

Mary Jo:               Sure, I’d love to.  The anatomy of an emotion if you will, has become a recent passion of mine through a lot of studying and reading that I’ve been doing, but let’s take for a moment.  Let’s think of emotions as memories of our past experiences, and each time we relive, recall and reaffirm that experience, we hardwire that emotion which is really a series of chemical releases in the body and we hardwire that into our physical being and this applies to both happy and then the not so happy experiences.  So when we find ourselves in a new situation that echoes a previous experience we’ll react from the emotion of that past event.

Michelle:               Okay.

Mary Jo:               And that often takes physical manifestations such as turning of the gut, clenching and closing of the throat.  And I know you can relate to that as can your listeners and many people.  And so, these emotions, our body now feels very comfortable with them and it becomes a default setting and then those influence our beliefs.  Because we then find ourselves without even realizing it, developing a new belief system based around that emotional state.  We surround ourselves with people who’ve had the more experiences who “understand where we’re coming from.”

And we reaffirmed and that cycle just keeps continuing and we enter into that cycle without being aware of it, but the great thing is we can totally change that addiction, if you will, once we become aware of where the emotion is coming from and does it serve us anymore? And if it doesn’t serve us, let it go.  Look at the beliefs that we’ve developed around that and is that really how I think? Is that really like – let’s just go back to the male bashing for a moment in the earlier stage.  Women tend to get caught up in the emotion associated with doing that.  And so, you engaged in it until a lot of us step back and went, “No, wait a minute, that’s not really what I’d believed and it’s not how I want to feel.  This is not an emotion that I want in my life.

And so, you’ve detached from it, and you no longer reinforce that by hanging with people.  Women who get together over wine and all they do is gripe about the men in their life.

Michelle:               It’s funny that you mentioned that because I remember reading an article a few years, maybe even longer ago about a woman who started a new job.  And in this new place of work, the only people that she had found that she spent any amount of time with at lunch consistently, bashed to the men in their life, the husbands, the boyfriends, the ex-husbands, etc.  And she never participated in it.  And one day, somebody said to her, “Doesn’t your life suck like ours?” And she said, “I have bad days, but I’m not going to remember them and reminisce about them all day, every day, so that you will then remind me the next time you see me about how bad my life is.”

So, it wasn’t just her saying it out loud, but the people that she spent time with, she was fearful that they would say to her how that SOB or how is that whatever it is that’s going in on your life.  She said, “I’m not playing that game.” And it was really funny.  She said so many of those women said, “We didn’t even realize that,” like it was a natural habit for them.  And she said, “I was the change in many people’s lives by simply not participating.” She’s like, “I wasn’t rude.  I ate lunch with them.  I chatted with them about the weather, about the TV shows we watched, but I never played that bashing game, and I saw people change.” And for me, it’s being the light, being that change you want to see in the world, which kind of leads me to my next question.

So, all of this knowledge that you’ve gathered, how many has this done in your life, I mean obviously you’ve research this, you are a positive person and I have to say, it is a treat to talk with you.  I’m happy we’re friends on Facebook.  I get to see your bright smiling face on there, but what has this done for you?

Mary Jo:               Wow! It’s hard to kind of encapsulate it, fit it in to the short time we have, but let me just press this with what I’m going to share next is I am a positive person.  I’m not positive 24/7.  Admittedly, I still have moments, times where I just fall in to a little bit of dark for a while, but what I know now is how to lift myself out of there.

So, let me go back to my mom’s death in 1997 because for ten years after her death, I was in a very dark place, and I wore my grief and anger like this cloak, this piece of armor, and it didn’t allow for the possibility of anything else in my life.  And it permeated every aspect of my life; my relationship with my children, my husband, other family, friends, how I was work — just every bit of my life.  And I reaffirmed, this gets back to those emotional attachments and addictions, I reaffirmed this emotional state on a  monthly basis when I shared the story of the effect of my mother’s death on me in front of an audience of anywhere from 20 to 60 people.

So, that was once a month, every month, sometimes 2 or 3 times a month for ten years.

Michelle:               Wow!

Mary Jo:               Ten years.  Then, in 2007, my sister introduced me to Mike Dooley’s Notes From the Universe.  And things started to shift.  They started to shift a little bit.  And I wasn’t really aware of what was happening, how or why and that doesn’t matter, but it started to happen.

So, one of the first things I did was I stopped telling my story every month.  I stopped it.  I began reading, participating in seminars and workshops.  Essentially, I began a journey of self rediscovery.  And along the way, in addition to Mike Dooley, I met other teachers, one being Dr.  Joe Dispenza, I don’t know if you’re familiar with his work, the research, he researches the brain.  He was featured in the movie, “What to Bleep Do we Know?” one of my all time favorite movies.  And he has been working with other scientists to research how changing our thoughts and beliefs affect a change in our brain and indeed on a very cellular level.

And of course, then he relates this all to quantum physics.  And if you had told me ten years ago, I’d be reading and actually understanding anything about quantum physics, I would laugh, but I’m loving it.  I’m absolutely loving it.

So, he developed a series of guided meditations that the intention is to separate our mind from our body, so that our body no longer controls our mind, so that we can shift beliefs and perceptions that no longer serve us.  And essentially, what he and other researchers and scientists that are doing the same thing, they have now brought science and spirituality together and recognizing that one cannot be without the other.

Michelle:               Absolutely.

Mary Jo:               So, yeah, so following Mike, Joe Dispenza, so many teachers, building and interacting with likeminded people, let me just do a shout out to all the Ippies who might be listening, and developing a practice, a daily practice of meditation, visualization and expressing gratitude, I feel like my true self.  Every day, I feel like I’m the best me that I can be, and boy, it feels great.

I oftentimes will say to people that being introduced to Notes From the Universe saved my life, not in the literal sense, but in the spiritual and emotional way and I’m forever grateful to my sister, to Mike Dooley and all those wonderful teachers that have joined me on this journey and the ones that I have yet to meet.

Michelle:               Yeah, exactly.  And it’s funny.  You make a very good point that sometimes, it’s just a small shift.  It’s just something small.  So many times, when we’re on this journey and we want something different in our lives, we kind of are waiting for this big shake up or this big meltdown or this whack upside the head that’s going to transform us and we’re going to go from where we don’t want to be to where we want to be like that and it doesn’t happen.  Maybe it does for some, but we can’t keep waiting on that, but just something so small, something as small as an email.  Every day, the Notes from the Universe just saying something positive, something good, something personal to you that was able to help you see things in a different light and that opens you up to want to study and look at things in a bigger way and how exciting.  That is so cool.  Thanks so much for sharing that.  And especially that it changed not only your life, obviously spiritually as well, but I would imagine that those around you saw a huge change as well for the positive.

Mary Jo:               Yes.  I have a circle of women that I have known for 30 years and not too long ago when we were together, I toasted them and thanked them for putting up for me, with me during those ten years.  Because I looked at them and I said, when I look back on who that person was, it amazes me and makes me absolutely grateful that they stood by me, that my husband stood by me, that my children weathered the storms.  It could’ve been so easy for these people to just look at me and say, “Nah, this is too much.  I’m out of here.”

And so, I am very grateful for those people who weathered that part of my journey with me and are still in my life today.

Michelle:               Awesome, and great segue to the next question that I have for you and that is briefly, can you give us a specific way to release a limiting belief, what’s a take away that someone could use immediately to turn to a limiting belief.

Mary Jo:               Sure, one of the easiest and best ways is to write it on a piece of paper.  Put it in a fire proof vessel, bless it.  Thank it for its service.  Let it know it’s no longer needed.  Burn it.  Send it on its way because we know how cleansing the ritual of burning is.  And then a newer one that I’ve recently been using comes from the vibration activation master himself, Andy Dooley, loved this.  He has a launcher that you can use when you’re in the moment.  And it goes like this, “Stop! Cancel! Clear! Get the blank out of here.” Now, fill in that blank with whatever word works with you, repeat it, repeat it until that belief or thought is gone.  And if you state that with power and feeling, it’s incredible how easy it works — it’s just like magic.  It’s total magic.

Michelle:               Well, you mentioned something there that I just want to touch on and that’s realizing that we’re falling back on the old habits, but that we do have the power to release them and let them go.  Obviously through the fire cleansing or through the fire releasing or through the method that you mentioned, and it’s really, it’s going back to the title of the episode and that’s being empowered, being the empowered woman and taking steps to create what it is that we want in our life and not allowing those limiting beliefs to affect us anymore.

We are getting so close on time now.  It’s amazing how fast this goes.  Before we go though, I want you to tell everyone how to reach you and where we can find you online and then, is there a final thing that you want to share with us that can — some advise, your words of wisdom before we part today.

Mary Jo:               Keep pulling in knowledge.  Just keep the knowledge flowing.  And if you don’t already get notes from the universe, get them.  Five days a week, I love my Notes from the Universe.  Develop a daily practice.  And know that we’re all here to share our unique gifts and that each and every one of us are divine spirits of light and don’t let anybody ever, ever dim your light.  And my shout out to a few of empowered women who have said me those lines and they know who they are if they’re listening and I love them very much.

So, how can you reach me?

Michelle:               Yeah, where’s your website? Show everybody how to find you online.

Mary Jo:               I’m on Facebook.  My website is ShenomenalWomen.com.  I’m also part of a collaborative group for women that will be offering an outstanding safari retreat in Ohio this May, and you can learn more about that at WiseWomen4.com.  And we will be offering other retreats in the future but we just announced and released the details on that one in Ohio.  We’re very, very excited about what we’ll be sharing with women.

Michelle:               And that is so fascinating, and I will post those links here and make sure it’s a part of all of the postings as well, so that those listening now or those listening in the future will be able to reach out to you because I know that this is just the first retreat of many that you’re going to do.

So, I want to thank you again for joining me this afternoon.  Next week, we’re going to be talking to Helene Harris from the Awakening Center in California.  She’s actually going to be chatting with me about creating a greater abundance without selling your soul.  So, all my soulful entrepreneurs, that one is going to really, really hit home on helping you create this business and this life that you want.

So, thank you once again Mary Jo for being on the line today.  It was absolute treat to chat with you and I look forward to seeing you soon.

Mary Jo:               Thank you so much Michelle and be sure that when we see each other face to face, massive hugging will take place.

Michelle:               You’re so sweet.  You have a good day.  Thank you darling.

Mary Jo:               You too, Bye