You love your family. You love your partner. You love your children. It’s the most natural thing in the world for a woman to share her love with others. But women also have the need to be nurtured and taken care of by others. And what can easily happen is that we aren’t. Many of these relationships entail a one sided emotional dependency. Where and how can we charge our emotional batteries y so we can still give so much to others. It’s like we aren’t supposed to need anything but we do. Women can nurture each other if they have the time and the freedom to do so. Many women in choosing to work or needing to work have the benefit of social connections outside the home and ideally more intellectual stimulation, but then have to burn the candle at both ends to maintain a household. Men are naturally valued and given more status, and because of this women often unconsciously put their female friendships last. But who really helps you? Who really listens to you? Women’s greatest challenge is first being able to take care of ourselves. Time and space, learning and creating, nurturing the people who nurture us : all these are essential to our ability to give so much to people who need us.
It’s easy to be popular when you always say “yes”. There were times when I realized the week was over before it had even started. I was on a roll with saying yes to everyone and all those favors ate up my free time. But when I was in trouble, who was there to help me? It was a combination of not owning my own life and also finding meaning in serving others. Then, about twenty years ago I knew I had to get grounded. I actually had moved many times to new places because unconsciously it was the only way I could find my own time and space. I was walking my dog in the park in Vancouver, when it dawned on me that every time I moved… I took my problem with me, and the problem was ME !
I had just read this book FLOW by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, which was excellent. He talks about happiness and creating optimal experiences. It struck me this idea about making happiness the priority, and thus the goal. I decided that every day I was going to check in and ask myself what would make me happy. It started off with little things, like sleeping in, or a morning walk somewhere special or only spending time with people I really liked and respected. It sounds weird but I had to remind myself every day that no one owned me.
It has taken many years but somehow now, finally, I am at peace. Not because I got everything I wanted or because it all worked out. I am at peace with taking responsibility for my life and everything that that entails. I don’t have to be attached to any roles or expectations of others or what I created in my head. I do not need to fulfill gender expectations either. Peace of mind, happiness and freedom, are my true goals. And my nomadic spirit both a joy and a blight all these years could possibly soar to the next level.
Love and Light