Women and The Grand Canyon

We can not think of a better way to Kick Off the Hey Girl You Can Blog than with a post (and a poem!) from a woman who embodies the Hey Girl You Can spirit.  An overcomer, example of resiliency and a nurturer of all women, Keele Burgin exemplifies what it means to not only rise above her own challenges but to inspire other women to do the same. We are honored to have her contribute our inaugural post...

 

HGYC member: Keele Burgin

Several years ago I climbed the Grand Canyon.  It was the hardest physical thing I have ever done.  Eleven women I had never met and one woman I’d been wanting to get to know better for a decade.  We were in the middle of a government shutdown which meant there would be no water stations, likely no bathrooms and no rangers in the Canyon.   We would be on our own.  Just because that wasn’t enough to deter us, we found out the main water line was out at Phantom Ranch, the place we were staying at the bottom, so we would be void of any running water after the descent.  


My determination to stay on the journey was unrelenting. I signed up for this crazy adventure because I knew I had to do something drastic to shock myself back to the land of the living after a decimating divorce.  I was going to the bottom of the Grand Canyon to leave my marriage there and climb out to my new life.  The only problem was I had no idea what my new life was going to be or if I was capable of creating it because when my wasband* left I had allowed him to take my self worth with him. 

I have always loved monetizing an asset.  I have run the gamut from helping to start an international strategic marketing company that we took public to a call center technology company that I sold to a Fortune 100.  But that didn’t mean I felt worth this time around.  The fear was real. 

As you can imagine I had a lot of time to think, to place my life on an observation wheel, and to take in the awe of my surroundings.  As the temperature dropped and the snow began to thicken, I found myself watching the women as we walked in silence.  They were each in a place of their own fear, contemplation or excitement.  As the hours past I felt a sense of waking up, like the last part of a yawn when you know you are about to put your feet on the floor to start another day.  

I saw the women fall and get picked up, I heard them share the wisdom they had accrued over the years and their devastations.  I watched them give their water when they didn’t know if there would be more.  I listened to their stories and in a profound way I knew I wasn’t alone. One woman in particular was my counter opposite, her actions in her relationship reminded me of my wasband’s.  In hearing her story I took a step toward empathy for him.  

I witnessed in those four days how women show up for each other.  I saw that when Julie couldn’t carry her 35-pound pack another step, we divided among several of us and kept her moving.  We sat up late in our old wooden bunkbeds and listened to beautiful words dripping from these women’s lips.  Things these women had promised to never say out loud now took residence in my heart.  I could feel the healing taking place because we were present for each other, we were cradling the words of joy and suffering.  Life is both, we sometimes run from the suffering, but it is still intertwined in the fabric of our life.  

I went home from that trip a changed and motivated woman.  I knew it was time for me to start a new business and by the time I climbed out of that canyon I was clear about the mission.  Within weeks (B)tribes was birthed into the world.  We curate groups of twelve like-minded woman who walk through a three month or six-month curriculum together, embracing all that they are and coming out on the other side transformed.   

I named it (B) because I want everyone to BE who they are in the moment.  Be giddy.  Be free.  Be powerful.  Be a hot mess.  Just BE and know you are worthy. Another tenet we live by is the knowing that we are all the teacher and we are all the student; it just depends on the topic.  The collective wisdom floats to the surface.

Within a 3-weeks of coming home from the canyon everything shifted.  I partnered with a woman I met on the trip and our business, (B), was coming into fruition at full force.  My book, Wholly Unraveled, where I tell my own stories I didn’t want say out loud, was sold to a major publisher in New York (pinch me).  And my childhood sweetheart, whom I hadn’t had contact with in decades, reached out and we have been together ever since! 

I believe in following my intuition.  I believe in the power of women, especially when they gather.  I believe in doing the next right thing no matter how small and then the next right thing after that knowing that those things become a string of important decisions that lead us to our authentic life!!  I feel blessed to work with women who want to up their game and find and use their voice to make their profound impact on the world. 

 

*wasband (it feels nicer to call my x-husband, wasband.  Afterall, he was my husband)

 

 

I Love Women
by Keele Burgin
 
I love women. I love big women, small women, women who 
refuse me (it is just temporary) and women who embrace me. 
 
I love the ones who are dressed up, dressed down and I love the 
ones that have found their perfect style and wear it with 
conscious grace, whether they are at the grocery or at The Met. 
 
I love their fears, their accomplishments, their wit
and their hiding. 
I love how women celebrate. 
 
Women have carried me, taught me, nursed me and pulled me 
through the world when I wanted out. They have held my hand 
when I was afraid of touch and taught me that I would die with out.
 
I look in their eyes, that is where I learn the most. 
Women can tell a story by saying hello in passing. 
 
I want their layers, their pain, their candor and their unknown. 
 
In my women’s group… 
I want to show up. 
I want to belly laugh.
I want tears.
I want to show up lonely and leave overflowing with connection. 
I want to know that my insides are safe to spill. 
I want you to help me go into the world more courageously,
I want to hold your hand while you do the same. 
I want to discuss juicy topics that matter.
I want to be both teacher and student. 
I want to watch you soar,
I want to go deeper as a tribe. 
I want to belong 
 
As women, we gather. We Red Tent.
We commiserate, connect and drink our holy wine as a bona fide tribe.
We crave a sacred circle, a safe place to emerge and retract with no agenda in tow. 
We can fit in anywhere, but to belong is our soul's request.

 

 

Keele Burgin is an entrepreneur, activist, international best-selling author, and filmmaker. She believes when a person finds their voice and shares their story, they can change the world around them. Committed to understanding the inner workings of strong women, Keele set out on a journey producing a movie with Dr. Jane Goodall. Dubbed by Jane as ‘the real story keeper,’ Keele spent two years traveling with Jane, sitting with the chimpanzees in Gombe and conducting extensive interviews with Jane, her son, grandchildren and those close to her for an unprecedented look into Jane’s life. Keele’s work has been acquired by the Walt Disney Co. and will be the first narrative feature film about Dr Goodall. Keele’s best-selling memoir, Wholly Unraveled.  Keele’s passion to bring women together led her to found (B)Tribes to bring like-minded women together to ignite their inner compass and make profound transformations in their lives through curated tribes, curriculum and coaching.  www.keeleburgin.com  Clubhouse: Keele Burgin Instagram: @keeleburgin Facebook: @keeleburgin


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  • Ashley Lintner on

    What an inspiring story Keele, while we don’t all have to go to such physical extremes to gain back our self worth it’s important to go after it and find the confidence in yourself that you are worthy to take up space and for so much more if you dare to dream and be.

  • Miesha Nicole on

    “I was going to the bottom of the Grand Canyon to leave my marriage there and climb out to my new life.” – WOW! This was powerful and made me think about what I need to leave at the bottom of the “Grand Canyon” so that I can climb out to my new life and all the blessings God has in store for me to share.

  • Carol Clegg on

    Thank you for sharing from your heart! An encouragement to other women to step into the journey and savour the next step.


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