There is an old Native American wisdom, which says
“As young women we discover our power then through our bleeding years we practice our power, and with menopause we become our power.”
I don’t know about you but I find that idea more than a little intoxicating – all of us – girls and women discovering, cultivating, and becoming our power. The power we open to at our initiation into womanhood is our creative power. Not only the power to create new life but the power to create OUR life. To discover and claim who we are and set about making our distinct and unique contribution to this world.
Oh, if it could be this straightforward and simple. Don’t get me wrong. It is getting better for our daughters and granddaughters but the world is still far from welcoming their power with open arms. I’m not here today to rail against our culture or the treatment of women and girls in this world. We are all well aware of the imbalances and the problems that exist. I’m here to talk about what you and I can do about it by taking care of our little corner of the world. By tending to our own inner world-our own heart.
I want to share what I’ve learned to support you in becoming your power.
To begin with, we can stop using our power against ourselves and our sisters – but first and foremost ourselves. I have witnessed women slice themselves to ribbons and cut themselves off at the knees simply for being who they are – too much of this, and not enough of that. I’m not throwing stones here as I, myself have spent too many hours and days and years maligning myself. What a waste of our time – slaughtering our souls and spirits for not living up to some unrealistic idea of who we should be, or how we should look and behave, or what we should or shouldn’t achieve. The scrutiny we’re under as women is insane.
Just like today’s little girls we started out excited to be who we were – to share and shine our gifts and talents. But somewhere along the line most of us internalized a heap of crap and a vicious inner voice we typically reserve only for ourselves. Somehow we go through life burdened by the slave-driver who tells us we don’t measure up. A vicious master that keep us small, fearful and intimidated.
But the antidote my dear sister is recognizing that the judgments it’s dishing out are bull$#!t. That who you are – just as you are – is perfectly fine – in fact quite magnificent. And getting to know, appreciate and yes love the nuances and idiosyncrasies that are particular to you is indeed an empowering and revolutionary act.
The only way we can discover, practice, and become our own power is to have enough space, acceptance, and support to establish what that means for us. First we need some freedom and space from the stories, projections or harsh judgments about who we are. Family, culture, faith, inner critic and even friends can be quick to tell us who we are, or more often who they want us to be. To genuinely come home to our own power we must step back from that chorus of voices to explore and question, Who am I really? What is my true nature? What do I value?
For years I received the message my sensitive and introverted nature was wrong, bad, and inconvenient. My need for quiet time, solitude and space wasn’t recognized as important to those around me and consequently myself. As I ignored those needs I became increasingly irritable and agitated eventually pushing people away to get the space I needed. Not surprisingly that created a lot of pain in my relationships and a sense of remorse and self-judgment within me. It was a painful cycle that continued until I had enough space to recognize and accept my introverted nature and tend to my needs for alone time in my relationships. Prior to that I chronically felt wrong and bad. There was no way to legitimately connect with a sense of power for myself. Are there places you feel stuck that might be helped by seeing yourself more clearly?
Here are the steps I found helpful:
1. So first we clear some space to see our selves more clearly. This can be as simple as a.) recognizing that others opinions along with the voice in your head have had a hold on you and b.) beginning to be curious and question the assumptions about who you are, and how you are supposed to behave.
2. Next as you discover the hidden or obscured truths within yourself find support to accept, honor, and if need be educate yourself. Find those sisters, guides or mentors who can recognize and mirror the beauty and gifts of your unique and quirky self. They’re there waiting with great anticipation for you to emerge from the shadows.
3. With support you can begin to challenge the lies of the inner critic that tell you you’re not acceptable, enough, or okay.
4. Practice tending to your real and legitimate needs. Put yourself at the top of your priorities. Even if you have to schedule you time in your calendar – even 15 minutes a day. Express and advocate for yourself in your life and your relationships. Risk making waves. You are so worth it!
5. Practice listening to the quiet, voice that lives deep in your heart. It is the most trustworthy and reliable source to guide you.
6. Move beyond proving yourself to expressing yourself. As you repeat the above steps time and again through the different facets of yourself and your life you will be freed up to live your whole life as a full expression of yourself.
As you develop a clear understanding and appreciation for who you are, what you need, value, and want to create for yourself you begin to express your creative power. You are then free to move forward and express the distinct beauty, wisdom, light, and power that is you.