So many different journeys all so different and yet so similar. What does it take for us as women to break from the past of limiting beliefs to discover the potential that we hold? Each woman standing tall, in who she is sharing the unique truth of her own experience, sends ripples out into the universe and touches another woman who is completely unaware of what just happened. And yet, there’s a knowing in her body that something has changed.
The ripple affect has been proven with butterflies and their beating of wings. What happens when a woman can no longer stand still and her wings start to beat to music that only she can hear?
In a constant state of metamorphosis, we are what it takes for this world, our world to change.
Sitting here writing out side, I listen to the robins singing their song. What becomes interesting for me is that they have several songs. All very melodic and touches my soul as I inhale their beauty and magnificence. They remind me of who I am and I liken myself and other women to nature and all its beauty. Whether it be tree, bird, chipmunk or weed, at each stage of our life there is an unfolding and there is magnificence to each and every stage. At one point in my life I would have said that it goes unnoticed by most. What my heart tells me today is that we notice it, we just don’t speak of it in fear of what others will think of us. That is one of the stages that I have moved through. I cannot say that I’ve moved beyond it as yesterday I discover that I haven’t. It’s o.k. I know that in a breath the next unfolding of who I am becomes yet again me awakening another aspect of who I am.
Since I have awakened to my own potential, it is as though with every breath a layer is shed, a new bud appears. I am in a garden of perpetual growth and I have planted my own seeds since my awakening.
A great friend of mine shared something with me this morning and I could feel it as my truth. And yes, as women Decloak and unveil so that others can see the magnificence that we hold, another woman’s thought can become your truth. Why? Because as the words leave another persons lips, the ripples goes out and the truth awakens in your body. It’s not a mind share. It’s a personal sharing of something unique to one person that enables another person to awaken to their own truth. Truth at a much deeper level in the body and yet at a much higher level of consciousness. Where there were no words before, out of the mouth of another awakened presence, there are now words for the experience.
I liken myself to all living creatures. From animals to plants. Each of us a living expression of what becomes possible when allowing the ‘knowing’ in your body to lead you to the divine truth which is unique to you.
Women around me are wakening up and it is like fertilizer for me. I become stronger, taller and that much more magnificent because I know that I AM not alone.
The flower that gets planted and unattended to will grow and maybe not flourish. The baby bird in the nest if left, may survive but not grow without others around it. Are we as women any different in this ‘garden of perpetual growth?’
Right here, right now in this breath, there are no words to end this. This is only a beginning.
With much RIG, (Respect, Integrity and Generosity of Spirit)
Today I gathered with a group of women and every time is the same as the time before. Magnificent.
There is something to be said about what takes place when women gather and have meaningful conversations. Nothing to do except speak of the truth that roams around in our bodies.
One woman that was there today had never been part of the experience and it was all new to her. As I shared my thoughts with her of what ‘popped’ for me when she spoke, tears came streaming down her face. Although the language that she heard was possibly different than what she was used to, there’s no denying that her body knew ‘truth’ which she may not have tapped into until today. The body will not be silenced. I looked at her and I marveled as the truth of who she is awakened within. Maybe she doesn’t know how magnificent she is today - and I trust that the truth of who she is started to awaken today and I witnessed it. Now there is no turning back. Moving forward will be all that her body will be calling for. What she knows of her past she may very well discover is nothing more than a very old movie or story that is nothing more than comfortable because of its familiarity of knowing the outcome. Hmmm, what she may discover is that it may not be so ‘comfortable’ for her anymore.
As the conversations went from one thing to another we all discovered things about ourselves as we shared the truth of our experiences. Women, we’re truly magnificent beings. Yes…Beings. No longer willing or having space to only be ‘care givers’ or being ‘in service’ to others.
So today I gathered in the company of other women and I realize what an absolutely ‘Kick Ass’ life I have created for myself. Yes. I have created the life that I live and may I add that I live my life to the fullest and that every breath of every day is an ‘experience.’ I don’t believe that I have anything different than anyone else nor do I believe that it’s not attainable for others.
Looking around the room and witnessing what I did, I am very clear that I don’t feel ‘sorry’ for any of these women. Each and every one of us has something different to experience in our lives so how can I judge or feel sorry for someone when I am clearly not them and have no idea what it is that they have to move through in their lives? These women are strong and powerful from within. Why would I ‘belittle’ them by ‘feeling’ sorry for them? That would mean that I don’t believe that they are capable or in charge of their own lives and that means that I’m not in charge of mine. “I’m just…lucky I guess.” Well not friggin likely. My life is of my choosing and luck is for someone that possibly believes that they aren’t in control of their lives. Thank-you…and that’s not me.
There’s something magical that happens when all we need to do is show up and just ‘be.’ This is how I live my life. Possibly for other women that were there today it may be a new concept. What I trust is that these women as well as myself, will continue to awaken to the truth that lies within and will no longer be willing to be ‘small’ so that others in our lives can ‘feel’ big.
I’m willing to live my life in a very large way. How about you…you magnificent women in my life and others who I have yet to meet?
Letting go of the old movies and old stories and… Growing Forward.
Last Saturday I had the pleasure of being part of an incredible group of women that gathered thanks to a very dear friend of mine. Sheila is an incredible women and the more that I discover about her, I discover about myself. The group gathers once a month and is ‘hosted’ by Sheila. Entrepreneurial Women In Powerful Conversation, is a group that Sheila created and let me tell you that it was so powerful.
Women showing up and being themselves. How incredible is that and how rare is that? For the most part (and I’ll speak for myself) we move through our days as a mere shadow of who/what we have to offer others in fear of offending someone.
Because I live in the Maritimes, this was my first time gathering with these incredible women. I figured that everyone there had been there before so I engaged in meaningful conversation as though I had known them for years. Interestingly enough, I do know them all very well…even the ones who I had only met that Saturday.
Hmmm, women showing up and only speaking about those things that hold meaning to us that we so rarely share with others. Why is that? It’s actually quite pleasant to show up and…know that that is all that is required. It’s friggin well effortless and yet we make our lives so difficult.
So what I want to share with anyone reading this is, find a group of women that gather and speak only of the things which are meaningful and take part in such a group. They are all over the place if you just look. Louise LeBrun has a gathering, Sheila Winter Wallace has a gathering, Amy McNaughton and soon there will be more groups of women gathering and having meaningful conversations.
Ten women gathered last week and I met 4 of them for the first time in my life and let me tell you that by engaging in meaningful conversation for a few hours, I know who these women are and I have no idea what they do for a living.
It’s not what we do that defines who we are, rather it’s who we are that defines what we do or how we move through our worlds.
Thank-you Sheila for a fantastic Saturday and you can bet that when I’m in Ottawa next time that I’ll be ready for some more ‘meaty’ conversations.
Following my impulse moment to moment, breath to breath. I AM…The Bold Vibration for Accelerated Change.
Why be in ‘transition’ when ‘Transformation’ can happen in the blink of an eye?
Life is Good
I recently facilitated my first program of Decloaking and Living Authentically in September of 2008. As a certified CODE Model™ Coach, I was invited by Louise LeBrun of the WEL-Systems® Institute in Kanata, Ontario to make this program my own. I have discovered, both as participant and facilitator that this 5-day, open-forum intensive, designed to uncover what I do not know that I not know about myself, which drives my behaviour out of my awareness, is not an easy walk in the park that begins and winds its way back to an exit adjacent to its entrance with little change in the view. It is, instead, a constant and rugged trek up the mountain with each successive step up, in the climb, pivotal to increasingly clearer views on the way to the summit. The great thing is that the summit becomes, yet, another mountain with, yet again, another rigorous trek up. The paradox for me is this: I have discovered that the higher I climb, the easier and the more certain my footing gets. There is always more.
My own personal discoveries over the five days were massive, incredible and have opened me for more. I have been self-employed for 30 years in a variety of pursuits that I have liked; however, I have never, before, known the sheer joy of ‘working’ as evolutionary and transformative to my life and my well-being – that comes with simply showing up for self. This is not something that I do; it is who I am. My one and only purpose is to rouse myself in the engagement of others who choose, by and for themselves, to step into their own unique experiences. I show up without agenda, program notes, nor expressed itinerary, other than to engage. I become the model for space, movement and flow so that others are invited to become the same. I become the model for what is possible as an emerging future when I trust the genius of my body and the information that it carries, so that others are invited to become that, too. I become the metaphor for what is, as yet, unknown potential… so, too, do others. And… as I move, ever awakening, through my moment-to-moment experience of my body response, I awaken even more… so, too, do others. As the rigor of the trek up the mountain becomes more, so, too, do I experience myself as that. In every moment of engagement, I am the ‘more’ that I am becoming. Does it get any better that this? My answer is a resounding yes.
What I have discovered for myself is that the program is, itself, the model for being instead of doing. I am my own truth of my own experience of my own program. When I AM, then I can do what I choose to light me up in remembering that; then I will have what I want. This is the reverse of prevailing and current thinking that induces even more sleep in the already walking ‘dead’: if I, first, have, then I can do, then I can be. This is, undeniably, the recipe for struggle. It is tantamount to the tail wagging the dog! Yet, when I remember who I AM and when I know what I want and when I am willing to surrender to what is unknown as possibility for me made manifest, I stir up my self-experience as one, which is fully live… and easy. Nothing to do, nothing broken, nothing to fix, nothing wrong. Everything unfolds as it should. I trust myself always… in all ways.
I am so ready for my next magical experience! I know that Decloaking and Living Authentically is me becoming me and me becoming more, moment to moment. My gratitude for these adventures within myself is enormous.
Yet another amazing woman has chosen to share her thoughts and discoveries here, with all of us.
Susan Bremner will be joining Women Gathering as a Contributor. A CODE Model Coach and contributing author to the Sekhmet Rising book, Susan is a professional sports coach whose passion is working with others to help them discover their own unique potential. In her life, Susan engages with those who are her students as well as in powerful conversations with other coaches. To give you an example, here’s a recent post on new insights along the path of her own journey of personal evolution:
I was thinking back to a conversation that I had had with Bill just as the Summer Olympics were drawing to a close. He had asked me something to the effect of, being an athlete and sports coach, what was it that had drawn my attention during the games. I expressed that, usually, I like to watch the more creative and artistic events such as artistic and rhythmic gymnastics, trampoline and synchronized swimming. Yet, this time I was drawn (often just by an impulse to turn on the TV to see what was happening) to those athletes who were “way out ahead or in front” of the other athletes. I was particularly engaged, animated and excited by the performances of those such as the US men’s swimmer Michael Phelps, the men and women’s marathon winners, and Usain Bolt in the men’s 100 m track and field race.
I thought about what it was that had attracted my attention to these athletes. I asked myself what was meaningful and important for me and tears came to my eyes, as I became aware of what this holographic picture was reflecting back to me. I have always had a strong desire to be out in front, to be a pioneer, to demonstrate my personal best, to forge ahead of the crowd. I realized that these athletes were running their own race far ahead of the other competitors. They were not measuring themselves with nor competing against others nor against the clock. Instead, they were running their own self designed, life experienced race that they had set for themselves. They were internally driven not externally focussed. Indeed, this was truly who they were.
Therefore, in setting my life course for mySelf, I have always desired to be out in front, to be a pioneer, to be ahead of others, to forge a path for others to follow and to run my own race … how I move forward in my life has nothing to do with others, with beating the competition or being better than others, with measurement, with the time clock even though this is how it is often perceived in the physical world (all of these are illusions) … it only has to do with setting my own intentions and forging ahead in the direction that I choose to travel.
I just realized that I feel deeply about this with my own awakening and personal evolution. Whoa, just voicing this brought on huge waves … deep sobbing tears, restriction/aching in my throat, huge rolling movement through my stomach and higher self tingling around my nose up to third eye.
A new thought has surfaced … I now know that I have chosen to be out in front of others leading the way with my own evolution and, by doing so, inspiring others to awaken to their own true selves. Part of me keeps saying “I can’t believe it” and “I didn’t know” and that “this isn’t just a passing interest?”. It is like this has been out of my awareness or put on the back burner for so long and I have finally remembered.
I am reminded that life, in its infinite intelligence, unfolds exactly as it should. It all makes sense now … me as the toddler who wanted to venture out past the street boundaries only to be yanked back, spanked and reprimanded; tears at the sight of a young preschooler running free and effortlessly ahead of her following parent; criticism and animosity from colleagues whenever I would excel ahead of the “team”; the fear and uncertainty yet intense desire to always move beyond the box. How intelligent was my life to create a vast array of experiences … to teach me all of the ways that we are culturally conditioned to hold Self back from awakening, growing and evolving in who we have the potential of becoming. And, none of it is true … none of it can hold any of us back … once we remember the truth about who we are!
Oh crap … life can never be the same again!!!
We look forward to having Susan with us and to more of her insights!
There are many other things that I should be doing right now. With more than 30 hours of recorded material from my last pass at Decloaking… and living authentically, there are few moments in my day that are not focused on ensuring that this 5-star multi-CD product will be available for September’s Decloaking with Sheila Winter Wallace (Ottawa) and November’s with Amy McNaughton (Halifax).
My father’s recent surgery (and all’s well) has created the need for me to be physically present to him and my mother, resulting in long stays in hospital waiting rooms and watching for the ambulance drivers to move us in one direction or another.
My sons are busy creating new lives for themselves, sometimes with the support of the people who love them – including me – and that, too, requires physical presence.
Time is precious to me, these days, and I seem never to have quite enough of it! But before I can get on with what needs to be done, I can’t help but take a moment to briefly share snippets from the amazing journeys of three courageous women. In the last 24 hours, I have heard from each of them with these following words:
“I have spent my life trying to be someone…… I am already someone.” If you’re not already a fan of Sarah’s blog, I urge you to visit. With immense courage, curiosity and grace, this young woman’s journey reminds me every day about what it is to be true to mySelf, no matter what! Every day, I watch for Sarah’s blog and marvel at the privilege of her blog as a way of looking through a window into her soul as she grows, discovers and becomes more present, more authentic and more powerful with each passing day.
“Use whatever you feel necesary to get the word out to more women that could use this amazing transformation process. I don’t have words most days on how I am feeling, I know I am at the most utter peace I have ever been in my life and feel like I am walking around in my own world with others looking in. I am not sure now where I fit.” Linda’s words came after my request to keep her opening remarks in the new Decloaking CD’s. A powerful presence with an equally powerful edge, Linda’s willingness to decloak and share her challenges with the world so that other women can find themselves, tells me that the time for women to awaken other women is indeed, NOW. In the recognition of not knowing where we fit, we find the freedom to carve out for ourselves the world that we desire to manifest as an expression of our own unique being. It is not that we need to fit – it is that we come to trust that we no longer need to fit anywhere!
News this morning from a friend, speaking of a recent client’s remarkable discovery process, confirms that she remains pain free after 23 years of chronic, debilitating pain. All that from just 5 days in Decloaking! It tells me that we can turn our lives around on a dime; that we can free ourselves from our own bondage; and that there is nothing that is unattainable, no matter what others may think, say or do.
Women are powerful! Women are intense, provocative, compelling, funny, compassionate, supportive, tough, deeply caring, hard-edged and hard-nosed…. and so much more! After almost 20 years of working with women from all walks of life, I am so often moved to tears by their courage, determination and willingness to engage.
These women have changed their world; have touched the lives of all those who touch them; and carry the potential to shape a future that is both meaningful and worth living.
Women carry the seed of a new world. It is the women who will give birth to a way of being that redefines our potential as a species. And it is the women who, when they find and reconnect to the truth of who they already are, become unstoppable in their willingness and ability to live large, live fully and live well!
I am so honored to be in your lives.
Lately, I’ve been drawn to and fascinated by any and all programs that address the forces of Nature. My favorites include pretty much anything on the Discovery Channel, not just for the content but for the often breathtakingly beautiful images that stream in front of my eyes. There are moments when, for no apparent reason (at least, not to me), I find tears streaming down my cheeks. What! What is that all about???
As I watch, I see a magnificent, living, sentient Earth. I hear the sounds of vibrancy and life. I feel Gaia. Inside myself, I know this story well.
It is the story of a woman who keeps trying to deal with what is thrown at her. The story of a living being who is willing and able; a living being who has the desire to contribute and to engage and to be part of a living community.
It is the story of a woman who is trying desperately to be patient; to be reasonable; to try just one more time; to go for one more day. It is the story of willingness coupled with ability, without the need or desire to surrender or let go. In these stories, the outcomes are the same: someone usually ends up dying.
Soon, I will be 58. I’ve been working with women since I was 18. The first 20 years were ‘informal’; the last 20 have been more ‘formal’ and through coaching, programs, retreats, etc. that have made it possible for me to work with thousands of women. That’s a lot of stories!
I found my way into the work that I do quite by accident. It was not always about working with women. And although I spent almost the first 15 years of my business working with both men and women, it has become very clear to me where my heart lies. I got tired of watching women die – in body, mind and spirit.
Women who had lost their edge and had subsequently lost themselves. Our culture is not fond of ‘edgy’ women! It is much preferred that we not be so… well.. sharp! But then, that is one of the things that comes with edges. They can be well honed.
Women who had become so detached from their own sense of self, it never occurred to them to tend to their own needs; to take what they required. Our culture is not fond of women who have become unwilling to ask and negotiate and wait their turn. Sometimes, we’re afraid of women who have become unwilling to wait to be invited to the table… and who simply pull up a chair!
Women who had so lost their sound, even their ability to breathe had become small and tiny and tight in their chest. Our culture is not fond of women who make noise; women who speak a booming ’NO!’ rather than whisper yet another ‘Please, sir, may I…. “. We become afraid when women are no longer soft and welcoming and inviting and agreeable. And in that awareness, we often hear “What has the world come to!!”
Our world has come to a crossroads and is rapidly approaching a flashpoint. Gaia can no longer swallow and digest and maintain the status quo on the toxins that fill her flows; the garbage that swells her surfaces; and the poisons that make it impossible for her to breathe. She is on the move, no longer willing to wait patiently for it to be taken care of by some ‘other’, while we review and ponder and pontificate about how bad it is or isn’t, whose fault it is and why its not ours. She is marshaling her forces – and they are formidable. Around the world, we are feeling the power of her awakened presence.
It is happening in my world, on all levels. It is happening with Gaia. It is happening with the women in my life. And it is happening inside myself. Forces are gathering inside each of us… where we live… and things are changing. Sometimes they change effortlessly as we move to create that which we desire. And sometimes, they change with chaos and tragedy as that which resists begins to crumble under its own weight. But however it goes, it is changing.
I received this note today from one of those amazing women I have called into my life to remind me to stay connected to myself. We are part of a small group of women gathering… to talk, at Oceanstone in June. Her words were stunning as I read and realized that she was a reflection of my own internal state and that of so many of the women I come to connect with. In her own words:
“For a while now, I have been noticing a number of things such as a feeling of intense boredom washing over me in the midst of an activity; frequent pressure/pain in my heart chakra area as old beliefs start to surface and shift; disruptions in who has authority in my life i.e. externally versus internally driven; in addition to huge waves of fire energy and an insistent and nagging desire for some massive change in my life. It is as if I am in the midst of something huge within me waiting to erupt … and I have no clue what it is about! Even (my husband) has mentioned that I have become so outspoken in expressing what I want in every day life that he hardly recognizes me as the woman he first met … and adds that I could be less mean and alot nicer about it … biatch! (Guess I am just not that nice little girl anymore … ah, finally, cuz I have been trying to lose that title for years!)
I have been paying attention to the things that I just could not care less about or that do not light me up anymore compared to those things that are heart felt and trigger my connection with my higher self. I have been noticing the choices that I make in my work that can bring me income (never a problem attracting that into my life) yet do not always offer me the meaningfulness that I say that I want. I am getting better at turning down clientele that would not be fulfilling to me. As I feel that I am gearing up for a new shift in what I will be creating, I wonder if my changing clientele are there to make it easier for me to let go when the time comes? I have also been noticing myself selected as consultant/advisor for the development of colleagues as they turn to me for guidance in their own coaching … a new realization of my natural leadership.”
I contacted Susan* to let her know that her words had moved me to express my own thoughts. I asked for her permission to include her thoughts in this blog, as I believe that she speaks for so many of us with such passion and power. When she responded, not only was she encouraging but having read this blog she added:
“What bubbled up for me is that, as I begin to allow this force within me to be expressed, I start to feel more alive. I feel like I am finally puttting mySelf at the forefront of my life instead of being in the background. And, the only way to create what I want now in my life is to be a force to be reckoned with (just like Gaia)!”
The words that flow from the internal truth of this one woman speak for so many voices yet to be heard. There is a storm brewing on the horizons of our lives. We can pretend that it is not so, as we have pretended for generations that women are powerless and victims and afraid. Or we can stop pretending and allow ourselves to see and be seen for the force that we already are.
Women gathering in small groups, talking… can change their worlds, when what we choose to talk about are the things that matter to us; the things that make a difference in the quality of our lives and the things that we already know that if we give ourselves permission to say out loud, life will never be the same again. Telling ourselves the truth is an act of courage. Telling our truth out loud to another human being is an act of transformation!
There is a storm brewing and it is increasing in density and intensity, with clouds beginning to gather as the wind picks up and gains strength. There is always a gathering of the wind before the storm comes. Already, I can feel the goose bumps as it ripples across my skin…
*Susan Bremner – a WEL-Systems Catalyst™ and CODE Model Coach™ – is a National StarSkate Coach. She is profoundly committed to ensuring that young women are given the opportunity to fully express and excel in their chosen sport. To be successful, Susan has had to become the very thing that she invites in others!
Susan is contributing author to Sekhmet Rising: The Restlessness of Women’s Genius. Her chapter will profoundly move you, as well as motivate and inspire you to reconnect to the full measure of who you can become! For more information on Susan, visit : http://www.wel-systems.com/SekhmetRising/SusanB.htm
Having been away for a while, I’ve been luxuriating in catching up on the blog entries from the folks in the WEL-Systems Blogging Community. I really enjoy that process as I bear witness to what it is to be included in open, authentic, real-life, real-time expressions of our humanity. As much as I get to know more of each of these terrific women, I also learn more about myself.
As always, I was reading Marie’s blog today and was drawn in to her enthusiasm and willingness to just live as she writes… or is it write as she lives. Not sure which and both are fine with me. But I digress…
In all that she shared, what struck me was her comment that “…men are not the enemy…”. I’m not sure why that stood out as it did, so I’ll just rumble along here and see what comes out.
I agree - men are not the enemy. And they, like we, are imperfect. How come we’re ok recognizing that in ourselves and yet, seem to harbour such discomfort in recognizing it in the men in our lives? Or perhaps more potent, as a generalization that can be applied to the much larger collective of men of the culture?
I agree – men are not the enemy. Nor are they necessarily allies and/or friends. How can it be otherwise? As the facade of their ‘maleness’ permeates every cell of their being and the facade of our ‘femaleness’ owns the very flesh we pour into our relentless pursuit of being the ‘right’ kind of woman, what chance do we stand of ever connecting in ways that are honest, authentic, open, clear and direct?
I agree – men are not the enemy. And far too often what is required before a man can find his humanity, is that the woman in his life must find hers. Like Marie being willing to discover how the snow blower works actually frees her husband from his invisible cord to all that is considered ‘male’ or ‘manly’ – and frees up the space for him to discover more of who he is without his gender owning the way he moves through the world.
I agree – men are not the enemy. It is not the person of the man who is the enemy, it is the mindlessness of being lost in the facade of who he has had to prove himself to be – to himself, to other men and to his culture. THAT is the enemy of us all.
I often wonder… what it is that stops us from living the life we know is possible? What is it that gets in our way and prevents us from even opening our mouths and speaking out loud the thoughts that haunt our movements through every day? Why is it that we can’t seem to give ourselves permission to step into the ideas - the potential and the possibilities – that pound away at the inside of who we are, screaming to get out?
Not a single one among us does not know, deep inside, what we care about; what we really want for ourselves and the people we love; and what will bring a sense of vitality and it’s-great-to-be-alive-and-be-me’ness into our daily existence. Sometimes, the apprehension/fear is so great, we dare not even reveal it to ourselves! And yet, after having worked with women for more than 20 years, there is no doubt that it’s there.
What stops us? Here’s the short list I’ve come up with from years of working with other women, as well as from engaging and metabolizing the wisdom that comes from standing face-to-face with my own demons.
* Shame/embarrassment/humiliation: I can’t think of a more potent way to ensure that we silence ourselves. I believe that the best way to ensure self-silencing is to teach someone that they have nothing valuable to say. With such a ‘reality’, why would they open their mouths? A sense of worthlessness will ensure that no attempt is ever made to manifest worth. Things like, “That’s such a stupid idea!” or “I can’t believe you said that!’ or “Whatever made you think that was a smart thing to say/do!” or “That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard!’ or …. fill in the blanks.
Often far more potent in its impact is a reaction that has no words but cuts much closer to the bone, like: you speak, there’s complete silence and someone changes the subject; or you ask a question or say something, people look at you, turn and walk away; or (for some) you take the risk to speak what’s true for you and someone hits you, or throws something at you, or worse. We learn quickly how to protect ourselves.
* Rejection/abandonmnet: the idea that we don’t fit in, that we don’t belong, that we are not fit for, that we are not wanted in a larger collective that we hold as meaningful to us, i.e. family, peer group, team, club, etc. is a powerful motivator to pull ourselves in, tone down our perspective and blend gracefully into the background so as not to be seen to be different. Far too often, our ticket into a collective is our compliance with that collective, surrendering what is unique about us that we might be like/sound like/act like and look like everyone else. The price for not doing so is to be ejected from the collective.
This is a terrifying notion for many women in their relationships with other women. In a world where women often experience themselves as victims in some way, their sense of safety is tied to the company of other women. We presume that they ‘know’ or ‘understand’ and can empathize. Other women become the last frontier… the escape of last resort… for us to go to when we feel at risk everywhere else. To dare to do/be in ways that will alienate other women is to risk that when danger comes and they circle the wagons, we’ll find ourselves on the outside. – alone and vulnerable. Then what do we do? Where is there for us to go? We often sell ourselves down the river rather than risk being annoying or irritating to other women.
* Punishment: If we break out of the box; if we allow ourselves to think differently, speak differently, act differently; if we do not subscribe to the cultural/familial/communal expectations, there will be a price to pay. Sometimes that price will be exacted in the things mentioned above (shame/rejection, etc). Sometimes, we’ll pay with the loss of a job or an opportunity for advancement. Sometimes, we’ll pay for it by losing long-time friends or family relationships. And sometimes, we’ll pay for it with the loss of our marriage and our children. All of these take their toll on the quality of our lives.
However, what we often fail to notice is the price we’re already paying by NOT being true to ourselves! The hours and days we spend in internal turmoil, longing for our lives to be different. The stress of body, mind and spirit from living a life that does not reflect the truth of who we are. The sense of deception and self-betrayal that comes from pretending to be who we are not; and the decline of the body from wearing this mask every day of our lives, for decades.
I learned a long time ago that life is about choices – and every choice has its own natural consequence. Not good/bad, right/wrong – just a consequence that is the natural by-product of engaging life in a certain way. Some consequences feel like punishment and some consequences feel like a reward but what you can rely on is that there will always be a consequence. Perhaps a useful consideration would be to look around and ask yourself: what are the consequences of the life I’m living now?
There are no tips or techniques that will change my life. I need to be both willing and able to do what it takes to create that change in my life, recognizing that my life is up to me! Sometimes that means reading a new book or listening to an audio product. Sometimes it means talking to new people. And sometimes, it means having new conversations with the people that have been in my life for a long time. But whatever it is, it’s up to me.
Sometime ago, I wrote the thoughts below. I think they’re worth sharing here. Like I believe that there are things that stop us dead in our tracks, I also believe that there are the things that allow us to change our lives, ourselves, without waiting/hoping/wishing/praying for someone else to do it for us; or for some magical event that will make it happen. Here’s what I believe we CAN do:
Trust your body - Your body never lies. Unlike what many of us have been taught to believe, not only is your body not the enemy, it is in fact the gateway to the transformation that we seek. Far more powerful than any process of the intellect, your body is the quantum biological processor that creates all the feelings/emotions that shape the experience of your life – and since it created them, it knows exactly what to do with them. All we need to do is surrender the intellect to the body and let the body lead. Our greatest challenge is getting out of our own way!
Breathe – Science now tells us that your body is a quantum biological instrument of immense capability. It is not ‘like’ a bioprocessor – it “IS” a bioprocessor and breathing is what makes it possible for it to do its best work. Begin by paying attention to your breathing and notice when you hold your breath. In that moment, just stop…..close your eyes….and take three or four long, slow, deep breaths. If you extend the exhale so that it is twice as long as the inhale, you’ll go a long way to creating a deep state of relaxation in the body. In that state, you cannot feel fear – and when we are unafraid, we are more willing and able to consider new information and new experiences.
Follow the Impulse - The next time your body ‘feels’ something, instead of trying to shut down or move away from that sensation/impulse, breathe; relax your body; and choose to move into the sensation rather than away from it. Keeping your body open and relaxed, allow the sensation to begin to flow and to fill your body, all the time focusing your attention on keeping your body open and relax. You pay attention to your body and your body will pay attention to the energy/information that is moving. What you’ve been taught to call ‘emotions’ are really waves of energy/information trying to be metabolized (like your lunch) in the quantum biological processor that your body is, so that you can get on with your life! With the integration of each wave of information come insights and discoveries. Life changes – quickly, easily, effortlessly – and there is no going back.
Tell the truth - Even if you never say it out loud to another soul, tell yourself the truth – inside you, where you live. Allow yourself to know the truth of your own experience. We lie to ourselves all the time and tell ourselves that something doesn’t matter, when it does; that we’re willing to do something when we’re not; or that we want something when we don’t. When we allow ourselves to claim the truth of our own experience, something powerful happens inside of us and in that moment, we discover more of our own potential. Yet consider, as much as you need never tell another soul, remember this: Telling yourself the truth is an act of courage. Telling your truth out loud to another human being is an act of transformation.
Stay in the tough conversations - The toughest conversation you’ll ever have to stay in is the one with yourself. When you consider that there are only two things going on in the world – the conversations you have with yourself, and the conversations you have with another human being (i.e. chats, email, reports, etc); and when you consider that you can’t change the one you have with another person unless and until you’re both willing and able to change the one you have with yourself, staying in that tough conversation with YOU will determine the quality of your life! It will also determine your capacity for intimacy and connection to another human being because if you can’t stay connected to you in a meaningful way, how can you ever connect to someone else in a meaningful way?
Be willing to stand alone - That doesn’t mean that you’ll have to stand alone, you just need to know that if push comes to shove and you have to, you’re both willing and able to do so. Far too often in life we go along just to get along, We compromise ourselves because we think that if we really let others see who we are, they’ll move away from us. And yet, when we do that, we end up not liking ourselves much and have already moved away from ourselves. When we become both willing (a choice) and able (see the previous four points) to stand alone, we discover as we look around that there are many others who seek the same quality of life. These folks indeed, make great playmates!
The notice went out today to a number of women to let them know about this area. I know that in that group, there are at least 20 women who are already adept at creating and engaging in conversations by gathering women in small groups, talking… and transforming their lives! Anita Allen of WELsprings commented on my first posting – and I’m delighted she’s here!
Anita is in the Toronto area and has been working with women for a long time. She knows how to engage in those conversations with small groups of women, using the Women and Power cd’s and/or the Fully Alive book, or the Sekhmet Rising book (Anita is one of the 17 contributing authors to the Sekhmet Rising book) to evoke new thoughts and propel the conversation far beyond the ‘norm’ of story-telling about our lives. Anita’s life is evidence of her capacity to engage and transform!
Perhaps Anita will also invite some of the women she worked with to share their experience here, sharing how simple the process can be. It does not have to be complex to be potent. Besides, having met some of these women, I would be very curious to know how they’re doing! I’ll look forward to having Anita share the wisdom of her experience in having created these opportunities, and the impact on her life and the lives of the women she worked with, that we might know how simple it can be and how potent the results.
In my 17+ years of engaging with women, I know how desperate so many women (and men) are to engage in powerful, meaningful and provocative conversations that will redirect their lives. We don’t have to wait for a master or a guru or a coach or leader to show us the way. We ARE the way – we just need to engage! The WEL-Systems based materials will do the tough stuff and make it possible for those seemingly scarey conversations to take place.Thanks, Anita… hope to see you again soon.