I was reading Marie’s Blog today and what came to mind for me was ‘crumbs from the table’.
Thoughts of : dont’ be selfish; wait your turn; don’t take too much; stand in line; don’t be pushy; stop being so demanding; what about everyone else; stop whining; stop complaining; just take a bit; blah, blah, blah…. and more blah blah! Sheesh! What a pain in the ass that is!
When I wrote When the Horse Dies, Get Off….and Stop Dragging It Around!, I was mindful that some readers may find my words and my perspective ‘harsh’. I was unwilling to make things pretty, to soften the blow or to pull a punch. I grew up in a home with a Mom (some of you know and love her like we do!) who did all those things and I figured that what we ended up with wasn’t anything I wanted in my life. She did what worked for her – and I chose to do something different.
From that thought came another: how willing are we to have a better life than the one we were trained into? How many of us are willing to do it differently from how our mothers did it if/when we do, it could be experienced by her as a judgement of her life? That somehow she did it ‘wrong’ or ‘wasn’t enough’? How many of us put up with ‘stuff” because we don’t want to make someone else look bad?
I think Self-ish is what we are designed for! What I’ve discovered over the years is that when you or I or my children pay attention to and engage the signal from Self…. when we are willing to listen to and honor that which is Self-ish in us…. we are all better off for it. Wherever did we get the idea that sacrificing Self (i.e. giving up on Self, giving Self up!) could possibly be of any use to anyone? I, for one, am long done with that.
I can be open, honest, clear and direct – and I can be kind. I can tell the truth of my epxerience – and I can still love and be loved. I can ask for what I want…. no, not strong enough…. I can TAKE what I want – and I can still be considerate and respectful. These are not mutually exclusive experiences. Maybe we need to pay more attention to that.
If you and I are not telling what is true for us, then what we are telling is untrue. The only thing that can come from that is a life of illusion. Living a life of illusion will lead us to resentment, disappointment and an eventual sense of hopelssness and (far too often) despair. I’ll pass on that one, thanks.
Today, in conversation with a wonderful businesswoman and friend, we talked about trusting others and ‘turning things over’. (In that context, we were talking about handing things over to staff to take over but the conversation is as relevant when applied to family, friends, colleagues, etc.) That idea of letting something go because someone else takes an interest in it; or someone else is engaging in that process/experience with us, moving toward proficiency. How do we do that in a way that is not a duality, meaning holding on tight or letting it all go at once? What popped to mind was an image of a small child learning to walk. That’s really a two-person dance, in the early stages. I think back to when my sons were much, much younger and I am mindful that we instinctively knew when it was time for him to let go of my hand – and when it was time for me to let go of his! There may well have been that brief moment when he thought he was ready to walk and my ‘motherly instinct’ told me otherwise. So, rather than let go completely, I might have softened my hold but still been touching, or I may have let go but been sure to surround his body in some way, ready to catch him on the way down! And then, one day, it happened : we both knew it was time, we both let go and he was walking on his own. I was unwilling to let go until it ‘felt right’ for me to do that. I held on for me, not for him – and then it was time.
Instinct. Intuition. Gut response. Signal. Internal cues. Call it what we will, but we are always on receive from an impulse in the body that says ‘yes’ or ‘no’ or ‘not now’. Maybe it says ‘turn left’ or ‘stop’. Whatever it says, we have to be paying attention to notice. It’s a dance – and we both have to be willing to play.
So, Marie, thanks for that reminder. Abundance, it is! In all areas of my life. Lots of time. Lots of money. Lots of opportunity. Lots of room to change my mind. Lots of moments to accept or decline. Lots of people to love and be loved by. Lots of moments to consider before I choose. Lots of choices! Lots of… everything! Why? Because I say so. And that’s how my world turns.
How does yours turn?
Women gathering in small groups, talking…. and these are the things we talk about. When we do, are we talking each other into doing the same-old-same-old? Or are we inviting each other to consider giving ourselves permission to try something different? When we gather and we talk, do we become the disapproving voice that shames another woman into compliance? The voice that keeps someone small? Or do we invite and encourage each other to say what is below the surface; to speak the unspeakable and engage in ways that some might consider Self-ish. Or do we allow ourselves to be unsure, uncomfortable and keep moving forward anyway?
Women gathering in small groups, talking… is a force for change or one that reinforces the status quo. But either way, it’s a force that is having a profound impact on keeping things flat or welcoming new ways of being. None of us is a zero factor in the lives of the women we gather with. We matter. Our voice matters. What comes out of our mouth, matters! Today is a great day to begin to ponder: what is the force that I am when I gather with other women? What does my voice carry into the world?