Reverb13 prompt: “Who inspired you in 2013? And why? What gifts did they give you? And how will you carry these forward in to 2014?”
I was and continue to be inspired by women who are doing the work I aspire to do myself. They are supporting people, mostly women, in a journey of recovering themselves — their creativity, power, confidence, authority, voice, joy, LIFE. The ones I’ve paid specific attention to this year are Susan Piver, Andrea Scher, Rachel Cole, and Laurie Wagner.
I felt like I was able to get a closer look this year at how they do what they do, how they move through the world, was able to spend time in person with each one of them. I noticed common themes of being flexible, being creative, having genuine compassion for others, practicing self-compassion, having a desire to serve, having authentic presence, maintaining healthy boundaries, being willing to process and attend to their own stuff, having a wish for security and making a meaningful offering rather than seeking fame, and honoring their own truth, needs, desires, and limitations. What I have learned from them will save me so much heartache in the future, but also enable me to experience more joy. I will go more gently, have more patience, savor the process.
Project Reverb Prompt: “Surprise | What surprised you the most this year?”
I have undergone a paradigm shift, and the new view has left me gobsmacked. I used to think that the way life worked was I would please others, provide what they needed, and in turn they would be so filled with love and gratitude that they would give me what I needed. That was the transaction. And yet, there were all sorts of opportunities for that interaction to break down — I was maybe guessing at what others wanted or needed and I’d get it wrong, or the other might not know what they needed and even if they thought they knew and told me, they might receive it and it doesn’t go how they imagined, they might respond with “meh…that doesn’t do it for me,” and I would have failed again. Or even if I managed to give another what they needed, and they felt love and gratitude, it might end there. They might not understand that they are supposed to give me anything in return, or they might just decide not to. Or, they might try and find themselves in the very dilemma I faced.
It was a flawed system in so many ways, but I attempted to live like that for so long, believing I had to perform, to earn what I needed, that someone else had to provide what I wanted, give me permission to have what I wanted or needed. Clearly I had to shift to taking care of myself.
The surprise is that I can be who I am. I can want what I want, have what I want, savor and enjoy it without feeling guilt or shame. I am allowed pleasure and joy and delight, and I don’t have to suffer to earn it. It is not a reward for how hard I’ve worked. I don’t have to earn the right to be here, to take up space and have a voice. I don’t have to wait for permission. I don’t need to apologize for myself. I can live my life responding to what I’m hungry for, rather than pleasing others, attempting to meet their demands and expectations. And, it is actually in this way, self-centered, that I can offer my best, be of true benefit. Kinda blows your mind, doesn’t it?