Sometimes when I tune into my internal mind chatter–the thoughts that seem to run the show when I’m just floating through the day on auto-pilot–I notice some pretty interesting and scary stuff: The tone can be self-defeating, commanding, negative and hopeless. It can be what you might call the inner critic that says “Just give it up–you’ll never do it right!” Sometimes it says “You’re a terrible person–You don’t deserve love.” Or “Face it, you’ll always be alone. You’ll never be good enough.” Where in the world do these thoughts come from?!?
Somehow, somewhere along the line, we adopted internal forms of protection. Perhaps it was when we were young children being socialized by our parents or at school or church. Or maybe it’s even a past-life thing. As women, we might have a deep-seated, internal fear of speaking our mind for fear of being outcast, beaten, or even burned at the stake!
These themes come up again and again at the studio. Self-doubt. Self-hatred. Confusion. Fear. Specifically, we hear from women who feel defeated in life and have ignored their own needs for so long–always putting others first–that they feel like they’re going to die of sadness or explode into a fiery rage. And we hear from women who are terrified to reveal what’s inside them and yet just dying to express.
I’ll admit, it can be scary to show up to ourselves and give space to that which we’ve been ignoring for sometimes years or lifetimes. That’s why it’s so important to have a safe place and a supportive community where that can begin to happen. The studio is just one place, but you might have other places where you can show up just as you are without judgment, such as with a group of close friends, or at a sangha of spiritual supporters, or at a recovery group. It’s so vital to find a community where you’ll be whole-heartedly supported in uncovering your truth and giving it some life and space to grow.
Just as important as finding the place/space/community, is carving out the time. We all stay so busy and keep our calendars so completely full. And especially as women, we naturally put others’ needs first and can sometimes feel selfish when we actually take time for ourselves. But it is vital for our mental/emotion/spiritual health. And if we want to be a healthy and functioning person to live up to our Super-hero schedules, then we need to make sure our own cup is full.
This month at the studio, we’re adding a new Saturday afternoon series specifically for women titled “Reclaiming Our Power: A Women’s Awakening Series”. It’s time we make the space for ourselves to tap our feminine power and investigate what is wanting to happen in our lives. It’s time to make room for our unique creative voice and explore our authenticity. And to do so in a supportive group of like-minded women. We’ll be using process painting, journal prompts and group discussion to go deeper in our practice and make room for that vital self that is ready and waiting to express. We hope that you’ll join us Saturdays May 11, 18 and 25 from 2-4:30 pm. The cost is $75 for the 3 weeks or $30 for a drop-in. To register, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
We begin to reclaim our power first within ourselves, and then outwardly in the world. Pay attention to your negative self-talk. Begin to challenge it. I keep a sign posted in my apartment that reads “Inner critic, F@!# OFF!” You can be blunt like that, or subtly notice the degrading thought and remember it’s trying to protect you, while gently speaking an affirmation of Truth: “I am a vital piece of this universe and am worthy and deserving of love.” From the inside out, we step into our power and authenticity and it ripples outward into our lives.
Here’s to living an empowered life,