The Internal Revolution with Nicole Casanova
By Allison Rapson
Nicole Adriana Casanova is a living angel in my life and the woman who taught me about the concept of future friends. It’s the idea that you can meet for a second, have the heart instinct that you’re meant to be connected, and then you just let the Universe do it’s thing and know that sometime in the not-too-distant future your paths will cross again and it’ll be magic.
This is exactly what happened for us. Nicole and I ended up working for Donna Karan a number of years ago; she at Donna’s Foundation Urban Zen and me as Donna’s personal assistant. We immediately felt a deep sense of recognition and admiration for one another but our friendship didn’t fully commence until a little over a year ago when we found ourselves at opposing ends of the same supermarket aisle and, rather than groceries, we walked out of the store with a delicious friendship. In the years that passed from when we first met to when we reconnected we had undergone a lot of the same heartaches, from divorce to getting clear about the architecture of just what exactly our life purpose was, and because of these things we could really see one another through the kismet bond we shared.
If pain is a tool for making you stronger, then healing is a tool for making you braver. Nicole is one of the strongest and bravest people I know because of these elements. She’s a Soul Architect (no, really, this is her day job!) and, I have personally experienced the way she can brilliantly weave together myriad practices from various wisdom traditions and then employ her intuitive knowledge to offer people a unique bridge to the other side.
I can speak with authority on this because she did this for me. Earlier this year, Nicole brought me to a retreat that she was co-facilitating in Tulum; it was an intensive for recalibrating and reintegrating some of the broken pieces that still felt a little too sharp to touch. I went as one person and came back as another and, honestly, the experience is a big part of the reason why The Internal Revolution exists… because I got to the place where my insides needed out and I recognized how if I am going to be in the business of telling women’s stories I need to take a spherical approach to capturing the whole story. We can’t edit out the darkness because it is the darkness that is the fertile void and the only place where new life can be born; it is the home for revolutionary change. (By the way, if you’re wanting to experience something like this for yourself, her next retreat is taking place in Tulum at the end of October).
Here is Nicole’s story of Internal Revolution:
Q: In your journey to where you are now, did you have a “dark night of the soul”?
A: Sure I have. I’ve had one every time I didn’t listen to my intuition and turned away from myself.
Of course, there are the deeper and more enduring darknesses; the ones that life delivers to you and that ultimately deliver you. I have had those, too. In particular a couple of years ago my entire reality changed. I ended a marriage with a man whom I adore and remains a dear friend to this day, within weeks my older brother died in a tragic accident, and within days I found myself being ruthlessly pursued by a man who had invented a love story about us that was based in illusion.
In other words, within the span of a month there was a complete collapse of the masculine archetype as presented through several actors in my life. This was obviously not just an external experience. Each of these people, whether genuinely close or on the periphery of my life, represented a deep teaching on the latent and manifested relationship I was having with my own masculine energy.
Q: What are the soul sparks that propelled you forward?
A: The whole situation was a call for revelation. But for me to really wake up I had to come face-to-face with how much pain I had been carrying around and how lack of forgiveness kept me in a perpetual state of feeling capsized by childhood storms. I also had to address how my defensiveness encouraged me to engage in situations where I would have to defend myself.
Ultimately, the reckoning for me was to learn to mother that little girl who, like way too many of us, was sexually abused by a family friend in the most vile way. In the act of mothering her, I learned to trust myself as a woman and to rely on my ability to create a new way, to forgive deeply and accept that things can just sometimes go awry, but also to become aware of my energy when I come into contact with someone new.
I have learned to be selective because life is very precious and whether or not we are consciously aware, time is not linear. All of our many selves — child, adolescent, adult, and elder — are constantly looking after and interacting with each other. They’re very special and dear, so I wanted to, and do, make sure they all know that now in the decisions I make or don’t.
Q: Why is feminism personal and important to you?
A: I am beginning to understand that this wave of feminism is giving a lot of us a safe space to consider how we want to give birth to ourselves and our social contracts.
It’s not at all strictly about women either, but more of a non-gender or sex specific meeting ground where we can all look at each other and say, “Hey, we’re intelligent and we all see why and how things have failed. We get it.” And, then, acknowledge too that all people of the earth have come into inheritances that have left us operating at varying levels of deficit. And now it’s time to put down the inheritances that were never really ours to begin with and start working together to find unity in diversity.
To me, this is feminism now, a complete change from the position we’ve been taking in reaction to what was broken, to one that can acknowledge and even celebrate that we’ve moved on from those tired conversations that were only leading us deeper into separation.
So, this current feminism is important to me because it is a unifying force whose intelligence is derived from the wisdom of experience, and whose understanding is deeply rooted in love and equanimity for all people.
Q: Are there any Goddesses / matriarchs / historical female leaders that resonate with you?
A: My mom. I resonate deeply with all of the mothers of the world, as well as with the mother that is within each of us whether we are male or female.
Also with the Earth, Gaia Sophia, and her startling self-intelligence. She knows exactly when to let herself die, when to be reborn, how to sustain herself through cycles, how to let herself crack open… She captures the metaphor of diversity, abundance, patience, and allowing in way that completely blows my mind.
And, then, there is Quan Yin, who gives me so much more than words could ever begin to touch.
Q: What do you know now that you want other women to know, too?
A: We must bear witness to ourselves and to each other.
We must love ourselves deeply as a way of teaching others how to love us.
Stay open, trust, soften.
Having authority is very subtle and its power is amplified when we balance instinct and intellect with equal measure.
Here’s to you. Here’s to sisterhood. Here’s to The Internal Revolution.