Friday, March 16, 2012


Dammit! I find it astonishing how completely blind to my own aspects of shadow I can be one minute, then a mirror is held up and WHAM! there it is, obvious, awkward, and clear as a bell the next. I see it and think "Jesus! How did I not see that?!! How did I not see that's what was driving me?! How could I be so blind?!"

But alas, that's why they call it "shadow". So right about now I'm feeling humbled and embarrassed and dreading facing up and owning my s**t, as they say. I'm grateful for the clarity, but oh how I hate the awkwardness I feel. It's sort of an internal cringe. I've been here before, though, and I know it passes.
After all is said and done, I will be wiser, truer, and more humble. Not a bad way to end that chapter. Not bad at all.


Most women I know love to give, but are extremely uncomfortable with receiving.

I find it intensely interesting listening to the myriad of ways women resist receiving verbal compliments. A woman is told she is good at her work. She replies, "Oh no! But thank you", as if the addition of the words "Thank you" make her unwillingness to receive okay. Another woman is told her figure looks great. She responds, "Yeah, now if I can just get rid of these thighs!" Still another technique is to turn the attention to the one giving the compliment. This can be done by receiving the compliment and quickly bouncing it back, "Thanks, but I really love your outfit", or by skillfully ignoring the compliment all together. For example, "Your hair looks pretty." Receiver: "Oh, I've always wanted to know where you get yours done." Women have been doing this for centuries. It is a deeply ingrained pattern of behavior modeled by women and passed on to the generations of young women that follow.

I teach elementary school. Just the other day I was in my room with a group of second grade girls. i  Yes. I said second grade. 7-8 year olds. They were chatting first about food and then talking to each other about their thighs. Their thighs. They were not happy with them. The conversation and kind of talk was obviously something they had heard women/mothers in their life say to one another. Just like little girls playing dress-up in their mommie's clothes, they were trying on the talk they understood to be grown-up talk.

Another way women create resistance is by the refusal to ask for help; help with a project, help with the kids, help with financial struggles, and especially help with something personal where they feel vulnerable. When we create barriers and resistance to receiving, it is a great mirror of our beliefs about deserving. We are uncomfortable with receiving because on some level, we don't believe we deserve to receive.

The good news is this new awareness of our resistance to receiving is a great opportunity to explore what we believe we deserve. Those internal messages we have about what we deserve usually come from early childhood experiences. What do you want that you do not have now? What did you learn/see about deserving in your home when you were growing up? What did your parents believe they deserved? Were there any spoken messages? Did you hear "You get what you deserve!" Did you always have to earn in order to deserve? Did earning work for you? What did your childhood religious upbringing teach you about deserving? Were you told that sinners don't deserve? Were things taken away from you when you did something wrong? What did you tell yourself as a result of those childhood experiences? What have you come to believe you deserve? Are you good enough? Will you ever be good enough?

If you have never explored your internal beliefs around deserving, try this:
Go to the mirror and look into your own eyes. Breathe.
Say your name and repeat the following statements while looking into your own eyes. Pause after each statement and listen to what you tell yourself about it.

I deserve an abundance of leisure time.

I deserve an abundance of loving and supportive friends and family.

I deserve a job that is deeply gratifying.

I deserve to be treated with respect, consideration, and value.

I deserve to feel good.

I deserve time to myself and for myself.

I deserve to ask for help and to receive it.

I deserve, in abundance, ALL the good things that the whole universe has to offer.

Now tell me, what was that like for you? What came up? For me, I noticed that the most difficult one, the one I almost deleted (interestingly), was the statement, "I deserve a job that is deeply gratifying." And, I was surprised that it was this one. I didn't see it coming. Not intellectually anyway. But on a feeling level, I noticed my resistance. It was palpable. So, now I know I have some "stuff" I carry around career, working, and it being "deeply gratifying". I can tell you that I carry messages that say "Work is hard. You have to do it. Everyone hates their work. Just do it and shut up. Don't expect more. Don't expect too much. You don't get to have more than that. Work doesn't have to be deeply gratifying. You're lucky you have a job, so just shut up and do it. How dare you ask for more than that! Deeply gratifying??? You want too much!"

Whew! See how you can discover what's in there? That's what is creating resistance to your joy; whatever your joy is. Now that I have identified those internal messages that are creating the resistance for me, I can change them. The messages we carry are learned messages. That means we can unlearn them. Therein lies our power.

I challenge you. Look into your mirror. Do the exericse. Be the conscious creator of your own experience. I look forward to hearing about your experiences.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

F#%K "Lady-like"!!

I'm 54. I'll turn 55 this summer. Growing up in a house with 4 other sisters, and a banner-carrying feminist mother, the fight for a woman's voice to be heard was no small thing. So today, when I make comments and post photographs on my FB page about Rush Limbaugh's insults, I do it because my voice is important. Period. So I am compelled to blog about this experience I am having of "Sshhhhhhhhh!... Don't give him attention." Blah, blah, blah. Yes, Yes. I know all about "What you focus on grows." I blog, post, and preach that too.

AND, there comes a time when I must speak up. If we always were quiet, turned the other cheek, gave "them" no attention, etc., there would be no revolutionaries. There would be no Elizabeth Cady Stanton, no Susan B. Anthony, no Alice Paul, or Lucy Burns. We women wouldn't even have the right to vote. Where would we be today if those women had listened to and heeded the "shhhhhh!" of their society? There is a time to speak up and speak up with passion and gusto. There is a time to step up and step forward, step out of my comfort zone and stretch into my voice, my LOUD, CLEAR, PASSIONATE VOICE.

When I was a girl, my dad (every now and then when I expressed myself in a way that wasn't in line with his thinking), would pop me on the rear end and say, "Julia! Act like a lady." Playful or not, the message was clear. Women have been told, in one way or another, to "shhhhhhh" for hundreds of years. So I suppose it's natural for even women in our society to "shhhhhh" me when I speak up. In fact, I don't think they realize what they are doing. I believe we (women) are still reacting out of deep, long-term programming. It seems the only time we women allow ourselves full voice, loud and passionate, is when it is in defense of the children. Then just try and "shhhh" me! See what happens!!!

But what about the metaphorical children? What about the new ideas and ways of being that we are giving birth to? They are our "children". Do we not have the right to give full voice, with gusto and passion to those as well? The challenge is to learn the balance between knowing when to push against and when to go with the flow. There was a time when I would have said the goal is to go with the flow, to be in a sort of Zen state where all is well all the time.

Ahhhhh.... but "The secret of Zen is just two words: Not always so."

Elizabeth, Susan B., Alice, and Lucy didn't go with the flow. They had been "going with the flow" far too long. It was time for them to push against it. And I am grateful to them for being willing to do that. Today, I have the right to vote because of them, because of their loud, passionate, true voice.

So no, I will NOT "Shhhhhhhh"!! I am not a "lady". I am not ashamed. And I will not be quiet. I am LOUD, and BAWDY, and PASSIONATE, and furthermore I LIKE the way I am. So I say "UNLADY-LIKE" WOMEN UNITE! SPEAK YOUR TRUTH WITH GUSTO AND PASSION! LIVE IT! LOVE WHO YOU ARE!