I once felt I had found my place in the world as a social entrepreneur. I was passionate and happy to have purposeful work, feeling fulfilled by empowering and supporting communities all over Brazil. I lived, breathed, and dreamed with work. I was known for being a doer, for being hands-on, for being a workaholic. These labels made me feel succeeding in life, being someone that managed to live from their passions, get paid for it and make a positive impact—and recognised by it.
Without noticing, that made me feel superior, because I was so committed to social change, barely had any time to social life; how come others weren’t as committed and could feel any sense of purpose?! I couldn’t understand. I didn’t realize how I relied on those labels to define myself since 2013, to myself and others. And how this commitment was great and honourable in some ways, but how I was being swallowed by my life purpose (and my ego), and there was almost nothing left of me as a human that lives, relates, and simply contemplates.
Cut. Move forward to 2017, after realising I had burnout from giving more than my physical and spiritual body were able to. I went to do a short course at Schumacher College (UK), where life gifted me with the encounter of my life partner. He happens to be British, so that would require flexibility on my side if we wanted to make it work. After a year in a distance relationship, we decided to get together and be nomadic for a while, looking for where home could be.
Leaving my role as a social entrepreneur and “Ms. busy workaholic” made me lost. Who was I once I couldn’t hide behind my job and the communities? Who was I away from my family and friends? In search of other parts of my identity, l realised how masculine all that doing and achieving was. I always loved being independent, doing “boy’s stuff”. Add to the equation the fact that I was an entrepreneur. There was clearly not that much space left for my feminine aspects. And that’s what I started investigating, looking for these missing (or repressed) parts of myself and for ways of creating space for my feminine to blossom.
That’s when the idea of Aura was born: a programme that would support women that are doing meaningful work, giving more than their beings can, and most times not being financially recognised by that; support women not only building skills they want to achieve their dreams, but mostly to care, listen deeply and make each other stronger. So simple and so powerful!
Aura Fellowship was born from my urge of connecting with my deep feminine self, but the encounter with Eve and Anne made it real and consistent. It’s been such a pleasant journey. We have been allowing the flow, intuition and heart to guide us, keeping ourselves open to change directions and adapt to new needs. The fellows are such a big part of it. They give precious inputs, hold sessions and each other with such sisterhood. And now, we are about to expand to a second circle; I couldn’t be happier to know now why being a social entrepreneur wasn’t my only place to be.
Renata Minerbo is Trustee and head of Philanthropy at Be The Earth
February / 2022 - Aura Fellowship