“For years there was this deep sense of insecurity inside…or rather a wrongness about my existence that I did not know how to describe. I tried to live the values of the culture, follow the roadmap to success imparted to me through community, family and school. I was determined to be an “acceptable” kind of woman. I got educated, went into business, wore suits, thought rationally, competed against others and was successful for a time, but then my life fell apart.” -Megan McFeely
As She Is beautifully presents perspectives around the importance of feminine consciousness as a vital aspect of our life force that we continually negate.
Prior to making this film, Megan McFeely had been working in public relations in San Francisco and had been a successful businesswoman in the software industry. After experiencing the death of her boyfriend and two other family members in the span of three weeks, McFeely knew she could not go on with business as usual.
Acknowledging profound internal longing and an unsettling awareness stirring within, McFeely knew something was not right, and she had to figure out another way of being in the world.
Presenting the intimate journey of her reconnection with the divine feminine, and ultimately with life itself, Megan McFeely demonstrates the power of the seeker in Rumi’s poignant reminder that “what you seek is also seeking you.”
I had the opportunity to speak with Megan McFeely about what inspired As She Is:
BJB: Can you talk about what prompted you to make the documentary?
MM: The pain of knowing something was missing and not knowing how to deal with it. I knew I needed to have a relationship with this aspect of myself, and I also knew I needed to tell the story out loud. I didn’t know if it would be a book or a film. I worked in public television for a little bit and I wanted to get into film making. It all came together through my understanding that I needed to tell the story as it worked me over and I thought film was the best way to accomplish that.
This question called to me and asked on such a deep level inside. I knew that in order for anything to happen in my life, I had to understand this idea of the feminine. I wanted to know, “What is this?” I think the longing for the answer is what brought the answer to me.
The feminine is not about going out into the word and making things happen. It’s about the longing and calling things to you.
As women, we have this power. Maybe we are unconscious of this power, or don’t use it in the way we mean to for collective healing. But we actually do have this profound power.
I feel that the more in alignment we are with our higher self, the soul, or whatever you’d like to call it, the more power we have to manifest through longing. I’ll never be done with trying to have a relationship with this part of myself, but this was a beginning of my relationship with my inner self through the longing.
As a child I was intuitive, psychic, had a very intuitive relationship to the land and my body but I wasn’t comfortable with it. It wasn’t acknowledged in my family, so I had to let it go.
This process that I’ve been through is to consciously reclaim it.
BJB: I can certainly appreciate the effort you put into this. You could have just had a quiet break down in your bedroom and stopped there, but you worked through in the form of a documentary that will help so many.
MM: It was really always about showing what vulnerability looks like, how powerful vulnerability is, how powerful humility is and how powerful the question really is.
BJB: How did you chose the name?
MM: It came in a dream. It was very clear and actually just those words. I woke up and right when I was waking up I heard, “As She Is.”
BJB: I’ve had that experience and have wondered what that is.
MM: Maybe it’s your higher self, or your soul. I’ll tell you what I know, what I’ve learned. When we’re waking up, we have access to the place between. It’s similar to when children are first born, and just coming in, they’re more sensitive. I believe you can hear and your higher self can talk to you.
BJB: You can feel and know something within your body and not be able to articulate it. Or you may be able to articulate it but have no one in your inner circle that can acknowledge or understand it. As I watched, I thought, ‘I can completely relate to this documentary.’
MM: I find that there’s something in the film that speaks beyond the mind and reaches into the heart. I had no idea how people would respond to it. When you see your story touching others, you know you’re not holding it alone anymore. You’re now having an experience with other women.
BJB: I think a lot of people may not know what the longing is. They may think it can be quieted through a new house, car, job, or something along those lines.
MM: My sense is that it’s a longing for ourselves, our higher self and reunion with God.
We eat, watch movies, go shopping and do anything other than face it. I have to say that facing it is painful because one has to see that one has been disrespecting God, and this part of ourselves.
That’s part of the process, having to feel the pain of having ignored something within us that is so fundamental.
BJB: It’s hard. But it’s worth it. You eventually get to a point when you’ve come too far to go back. After your return from being in India for several months, what was the most apparent gift of surrendering to the realization that you couldn’t go on with life as usual?
MM: I tried to ignore it. I tried to go back to work as usual but, nothing worked. I had been successful for my entire professional career but,I couldn’t make anything work well. My mind wasn’t even working.
I was slow, spacey, bumping into things, and crying which was odd because I’m a pretty grounded person. It was overwhelming. I could see that people were walking around “dead.” In India people are alive. I wanted to go and hang out with people who are connected to the feminine and to the earth. I found that within the Latino community, but I wish I knew how to speak Spanish so I could have connected there more deeply.
BJB: So how did you reconnect?
MM: I had to figure out how to get back into American life. It was a gradual process. I can honestly say it took about six years. The destruction was fundamental and it took six years to integrate the experience.
BJB: In the film, Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee, a Sufi mystic, says “Women have been sold something that within them isn’t true for them or the sacred feminine. The freedom women have been given is a masculine freedom in its ideals, values and behaviors.” Could you talk about this from your perspective?
MM: I can’t speak to what he meant. I can say from my own experience. I was a competitive person. I fully bought into the values of the masculine. I got into the corporate world and I competed. That work did not recognize my real value. I did not recognize my real value.
Essentially things fell apart because I couldn’t continue to live this way. It wasn’t in alignment with my nature, which was the feminine. I denied my nature to fit in with the values of our culture.
When you think about that there has to be a reckoning with the way in which you have denied your authentic nature, and how painful that is, that is what I went through. I had hurt myself. I had aligned my value system with something I didn’t believe, that took and kept me longing for more of what was outside of myself.
I had to tell myself the truth.
The feminine is more about collaboration, giving and sharing. When I started to learn to give love, that’s when I really felt that I was receiving. Giving love is integral to the feminine experience.
BJB: I think it also depends on where you’re giving from.
MM: Yes. That’s one thing women can tell themselves the truth about it how we manipulate to get what we want.
BJB: The giving you refer to in As She Is is a sincere giving that is pure and fills everyone.
MM: Through the film I feel like I’m giving love by showing my vulnerability. Showing my humanness.
BJB: Considering masculine and feminine consciousness, how do you think the imbalance is revealing itself in present day society?
MM: The way we treat the earth. Women are an expression of the feminine and the way we treat the earth and women are linked. Almost every problem we have, I think, comes from a disrespect for the feminine.
Here we are digging into the earth and taking out without any regard. We don’t show respect for what’s given to us and we act as if we are owed something, and I think this is also the way we have dealt with women. And as women, we also have to deal with our own “inner patriarchy” that tries to abuse us. One has to see where we do this to ourselves. It’s that part of you that doesn’t trust you, because it’s not something that can be controlled by the Ego. We try to suppress it and dominate it, just as we do with the earth.
BJB: What has been the most surprising and unexpected part of the experience for you?
MM: That loved showed up in my heart. Anytime I need to or want I can go right in and touch. It’s there.
BJB: Having relayed so much information through the documentary, your book and your writing, what questions do you have?
MM: My question is, what is my true offering? How do I really serve? I have a sense but I’m still searching for my way to serve.
BJB: What is the one thing would you like for viewers to take away from As She Is?
MM: I would like for them to have a direct relationship to their longing, and to their own knowing. But since there are many voices inside, one has to use discernment to ask why you really want something.
It’s not outside. It’s inside. I continually try to remember this myself every day.
According to McFeely, “the intention of this project is to help us remember that there is another way of being, knowing and relating that is equally important as our externally focused, drive oriented culture. We want to inspire a reconnection with and respect for the feminine aspect of ourselves so we can bring much needed balance into the world.”
“I hope this film will touch a familiar place inside which knows the value of intuition and creative inspiration, respects our bodily knowing, remembers that we are connected to all of life, trusts the mystery and feels empowered to act from this place.”
Each person will have their own journey to reclaim this inner relationship.
Change is not easy, but at some point you simply have to ask, what will become of me if I continue as I have been?
I thoroughly enjoyed speaking with Megan McFeely, learning more about the documentary and the intention to create meaningful content.
Included in As She Is are several interviews which provide insights and helpful perspectives on the importance of reconnecting with ourselves in an effort to restore balance.
If you would like to learn more, or if you are equally inspired by this work, consider connecting faith or women’s organizations, conferences, events and educational institutions with As She Is to highlight such noteworthy content.