I had a question that had been BURNING In my heart and mind for months - well years really - but for MONTHS Gloria Steinem would just pop up in my psyche as if trying to talk to me, until finally I met her and got to ask her the question for real
The question was
Why do we as women today feel the pressure to do, be and have it all - where did this memo come from?
Her answer, shocking but not surprising --
After you watch the video, I invite you to join me for my response to Gloria's answer.
For the past six years I have dedicated my life to women and girls and creating the world I know we deserve.
My conversation with Gloria fired me up about a gazillion notches - to take
even more action.
And you my friend are invited... to join me and my friends and some really spectacular women to....
Begin a revolution By gathering the women
For real, honest and deepening conversations
Each month, once a month
On a matter that affects us all as women, mothers, and daughters
One that could make real shift - if we all knew about it, and had one simple action to take
We harnessed the power of our collective voices
Used the power of technology and the feminine web
If Tele-calls, Facebook, Twitter can be used to share our lives and great works
Certainly they can be used to band women together,
And create real shift in ways that really matter
Just by taking one small but mighty action at a time.
Because we know when women come together, shift happens.
To join us for these revolutionary call and actions - go here -- see you in the revolution!
You can be anything. You can do anything. You can have anything.
Now get going.
There is much to do. So much that you will never feel like you've done it all.
Allow me to introduce you to your new lifetime companion Her name is "To-Do List"
She will follow you everywhere from now on She will be there to greet you when you wake She will hang out near you all day long And she will be there when you lay your head down to rest Making sure that you don't forget her, even as you try to sleep
You will learn to wear her as a badge of honor This flashing symbol of busy-ness She thrives on attention, lives for compliments, She seeks out acknowledgments of her busyness, and ability to 'get it all done' without a sweat, and with a smile
She is not stingy She loves to share accolades with her sister super women Swooning and commenting on their multi-tasking feats As if their doingness was the latest, most fabulous, all-the-rage hat
Some days you will be tired And will want to set down the to dos Take a break from your badge, Whose weight you notice has become quiet heavy
You will try to unpin it Pull it, tear it, yank it, But no matter how hard you try Your badge of busyness Will not budge
Your to-do list Doesn't take kindly to being set down Or Forgotten She is fiercely intent on Staying alive Remaining on center stage Where she can always be seen
What they (we) didn't tell you When you accepted your to-do list as a rite of passage And fashioned on your badge with pride Was that try as you might When you tire No matter how hard you try You can't hide You can't run You can't even pin that relentless list on some other unsuspecting soul
But YOU can choose
Girl, woman, sister You have a choice to NEVER pick up This badge of busyness You have the choice to walk away and NEVER look back Not because you stop doing and achieving Which I know is one of your (my) greatest, unspoken fears But because you know that you don't need a Badge of busyness or a never-ending list of to-dos To prove your worth
Stand tall Turn on your heel now Do not follow us A generation of women who unknowningly ran down the aisle To marry busy-ness And ended up with a sense of self Tied to 'what I've accomplished and gotten done in a day"
Turn away Run away And change your sense of self for the good of us all
As you turn away We will burn our badges And together we will change The decree of women forever
"Yes I can do anything." "Yes I can be anything." "Yes I can have anything."
BUT NO ... I DON'T NEED TO DO BE AND HAVE EVERYTHING
I am valuable simply because I am Even if I never pick up another to do Even when I am doing nothing Especially when I am just being I am worthy
When I first met my husband Noah ten years ago, if you had met me, you would have thought to yourself, "Now here is a smart woman. She's getting her m.b.a., great job, confident. Here is a woman with tons of self esteem." And you would have been right. That was all true. Which is why what I am about to tell you is even more shocking.
By our third date, Noah was so taken aback by my big reactions towards his small acts of kindness, that he felt compelled to take me by the hands and say to me, "Christine, I don't know what is going to happen between the two of us, but regardless, you have to raise your standards for men. You can't like a man because he is nice to you. He is SUPPOSED to be nice to you!"
What??? My M.B.A. brain reeled in total confusion as if Noah had just proven to me that the world was actually flat. In all my 30+ years I had never considered the fact that the minimum bar of acceptance was a man who was nice to me. And like a time-stamped rolodex, my brain reeled back to all the not-so-nice behavior I had endured, experienced, and come to expect.
So yes, it was true, I was a mentally intelligent woman, but I was emotionally retarded. And as I looked around at many of my friends, I noticed a definite trend. Beautiful and well-liked women with successful careers who constantly chose men that didn't treat them with the unconditional respect and love they craved and deserved. Which, of course, just like me, made them chase them, want them, and change for them more.
Yes, we all had smarts. What we were missing was self-love.
What we didn't know was:
Unconditional Love and Respect in Your Relationships is NOT an Upgrade.
It's a Must.
While we all knew that we could do the job, get the grades and build the career, what we had failed to see was that unconditional love and respect was where our expectation bar for men should be sitting, and that in order to do that, we had to be able to give that same unconditional love and respect to ourselves.
Fortunately for me when I had this epiphany, I was three months into my now ten year journey of self-love, so I really took a step back and asked myself, 'How did I get to the age of 30 before I realized that men were supposed to be nice to me?' and 'What can I do to make sure I never sell myself short again?'
From one smart woman to another, who finally did learn to love herself, here is what I discovered:
3 reasons why we expect men to not be nice:
Bad training. If you were lucky, your mother told you to expect men to be nice to you, or you were out of there. My mother, like most, never made it around to that talk. Not because she had some sick desire for me to suffer, she just didn't know this fact herself. Ignorance and tolerance are like bad family heirlooms passed down generation to generation. The good news is that you have the power to break the cycle whenever you choose.
Set points were set with immature boys not good men. Our first experiences with the opposite sex in regards to the whole boyfriend/girlfriend dynamic are set on the playground, playing out adult dramas in totally childlike ways. One minute he's your boyfriend. Next, he's spitting spitballs at you. This continues through high school and college, so your brain creates set points that say this is the normal state to allow. Problem is, "spit balls" don't feel any better at the age of 27 or 37 than they did when you were 8
Bad examples, everywhere. From the movies, tv shows, music and internet, it's a constant barrage of men being jackasses. This is bad rap for men, and bad input for you. Subconsciously your brain stores bad as normal (92% of the images you see go right around your conscious thoughts into your subconscious). Add your own personal experience of men - from family, friends and strangers - and you could see how your subconscious brain could form all kinds of thoughts you had no idea were there.
So What Do You Do? Choose Self-Love.
All of the bad programmings and low expectations can be reversed and avoided by changing one thing - your relationship to yourself. The truth is that every relationship you have is a direct reflection of the relationship you have with yourself. If you don't have unconditional love and respect for yourself, there is no way that you can expect it from someone else, which is quite often why you will settle for less.
In my book Choosing ME before WE, I talk about the 5-vows of self-love every woman must make with herself first, before she can have a loving relationship with another. Here are two of those vows. I invite you to take it and keep it, and honor the most important relationship you'll ever have - the one with you.
Self Love Promises:
I honor myself.
I never settle for less than my heart and soul desire.
All of my relationships support me to be my best me and to live my dreams, or I don't have them.
I give unconditional love and respect, and I expect it in return.
This doesn't mean that all of your relationships are perfect, void of difficulty, or that you are absolved of giving the same respect and love you desire. Unconditional love and respect go both ways. It also doesn't mean that you go cutting people out of your life without taking a good deep look at what you want from your relationships, what part you play in creating that relationship dynamic, and then taking steps to transform, let go or grow the relationships you currently have so that EVERY SINGLE ONE reflects that same unconditional love and respect you have for yourself.
Self-love requires that you choose me before we in every relationship, which is not about being a self-centered, narcissistic, its-all-about-me kind of person. What choosing me before we means is that because you have made a commitment to create what your heart and soul desire, you don't have space in your life for relationships that drag you down, hold you back, create negative ju ju feelings (like shame, guilt, self doubt) or take more energy than they give.
You are a beautiful woman. Be nice to yourself. And believe you are worth being nice to.
About Christine Arylo Christine Arylo, an m.b.a. turned writer, speaker and teacher, is an inspirational catalyst who teaches women how to love themselves. A recovering achievement junkie and doing addict, Arylo is the co-founder of Inner Mean Girl Reform School and the popular author of Choosing ME before WE, Every Woman's Guide to Life and Love www.mebeforewe.com. Known as the "Queen of Self-Love," Arylo created Madly in Love with ME, the international day of self-love (Feb 13), dedicated to making self-love a tangible reality for women and girls around the world. www.madlyinlovewithme.com
3 questions to get clear on who you really want to call 'friend'
If you were asked, "What's the biggest challenge you face to create the friendships you really want," what would you say?
I'm going to let you in on a secret, your biggest challenge is not time or the inability to meet new people. Your biggest challenge is you. You determine both the quantity and quality of your friendships based on who you are and how well you know who you want as a girlfriend, regardless of who's in your circle today. Think about it. You wouldn't consider dating or getting married without giving thought to who your mate is. Yet, even though we have close, intimate relationships with our girlfriends, we rarely give conscious thought to the kind of women they are. Instead, we choose friends by chance or duty, and with the busy lives we lead, you can't afford to waste your friendtime on friendships based on obligation or on friendships that take more than they give.
If you've never stopped to ask yourself questions like, "What kind of women do I want in my life? Does my current circle of friends reflect the kind of energy I want to surround myself with?" chances are you are missing out on some great friendship opportunities, and spending too much energy on ones that don't give you what you really want. If you know who you want as a friend, you're much more likely to attract that kind of person into your life. And she is much more likely to fit the life you are creating for yourself. So do yourself a favor, and take the time to get clear on who you really want to call girlfriend and why. Ask yourself the following questions using the action activities to get you crystal clear on your answers.
3 Questions For Creating Fabulous Friendships
QUESTION 1: Why do I want friends? It seems like a no-brainer question, who doesn't want friends. right? True, but this is a question worth answering because your response will tell you a lot about what you expect friendships to do for you. We all have different motivations, most of us just don't know what they are.
Action: Play the Why Game. The game is simple, keep asking yourself "Why" over and over again until you get to core of your motivation. Here's how it works: Start by asking, "Why do I want friends?" Say you respond with, "To have people to hang out with." Then ask, "Why do I... want people to hang out with?" Answer. Then again, ask "Why..." to the answer to that question. Repeat at least 4 times. And when you get your final answer, ask "Why is this important to me?"
QUESTION 2: Who are the women I want as friends (regardless of who I am friends with now?)
Paint a picture in your heart of the women you want as friends, as if you were Picasso. Don't think about the women in your life today. Imagine the kind of women you want to make your life even better.
Action: Do a Friendship Visualization. Close your eyes and imagine yourself connected to the energy of this fantastic group of women you want to surround yourself with. Look closely into their eyes and paint a picture in your mind of who they are. Let yourself see them. Are these women self-empowered? Compassionate? Living their dreams? Or are they friends that revel in drama? Play small? Or take more than they give? Feeling into them, see them for who they truly are:
What is important to them? What are their gifts? How do they live? Why is friendship important to them?
Action: Create Your Friendship Story. After you've visualized these women, write a full, juicy paragraph or two describing them... a story that when you read it back to yourself, connects deeply to your heart and soul. Don't just blurt an answer out off the cuff, or create a long list of attributes. Go beyond the surface and into the essence of who these women are. Tell their story. It's the difference between painting a Picasso and drafting a PowerPoint presentation. After you write it out, read it out loud and commit to drawing these women into your life.
QUESTION 3: What Are Your Expectations of Your Friends?
Not all girlfriends are the same - we have different friends for different reasons. Some are closer than others... some you connect with because of work or shared interests while because you've known each other for years. When you understand the different levels of friendships a.k.a. your Friendship Rings, you're empowered to ask for and get what you need from every friend. Unknown, unmet and unexpressed, expectations are one of the major causes of friendships failure.
Action: Define your expectations for each Friendship Ring. On a piece of paper, draw a set of 4 concentric circles, one for each ring. Then list your expectations for each. Your expectations should differ depending on the type of friendship.
Soul Sisters: Your closest circle. You share your lives.
You may all have different mothers but these women are your heart and soul. They're here for you in the best and worst of times. You can expect that they will pick up the phone when you call at 2am with a broken heart; that you can share all of yourself with them - the good and the ugly - and they will love you anyway; and that you can be completely honest about your feelings, even when you're angry, and that they will listen and work with you to create an even deeper friendship.
Good Time Gals. You have fun with these girls. You share a good time.
You chat. You laugh. You never go too deep. You can expect that they will invite you to do things with you and accept the invitations you give; that they follow through on what they say they are going to do; and that when you're together you can share what's going on in your life and get some good advice, but nothing too deep.
Affectionate Aficionados. You work at the same company, belong to the same club, or run in the same social circles, but that's as far as it goes. You share common interests.
You can expect that you will have a good time when you are together; that you will share your enthusiasm for your common interest but maybe not much more; and that they add good energy to your life, not suck it away or create drama. You can also expect that when that common interests shifts, you may no longer stay friends.
The Original Class. You've been friends a long time. But even if you're not really close anymore, there is still a connection. You share a common history.
You may only talk once a year, if even that, or maybe more, but it's not the quantity of time that matters, it's that you can always pick up the phone or email and you will get a response and still feel connected. You can expect that they will be happy to hear from you; that you will keep each other updated on your lives but probably not share the torid details; and that when you hang up the phone they will say nice things about you and not turn your conversation into the gossip of the week.
Every relationship you have in your life is a direct reflection of the honesty, awareness, love, trust and respect you have for yourself. So if it's fabulous friendships you want, start with creating a great relationship with yourself... it's the surest way to attract and keep fabulous women into your life.
About Christine Arylo A new kind of self-love expert, Christine Arylo, inspirational catalyst, takes a fresh approach to redefining self-love for today's woman as hip, hot and hers. As an author, speaker, and coach, Arylo is an expert at helping women to get the success and happiness they want without exhausting themselves in the process. She is the author of Choosing ME Before WE, Every Woman's Guide to Life and Love (www.mebeforewe.com), the founder of the international Madly in Love with ME™ movement (www.madlyinlovewithme.com) and the co-creator of Inner Mean Girl Reform School www.innermeangir.com She has appeared on national television and syndicated radio shows across the country, and her opinions have been featured in places like the San Francisco Chronicle, Glam.com and Daily Om.
On Sunday October 17th, I had the GREAT honor of spending the afternoon with 19 amazing, fabulous, powerful women who have all given themselves in service to bringing forward transformational work that changes the lives of women and girls.
I called the gathering, the Gathering of the Queens, because we are ALL queens in service to every person we touch, every day, when we live from a place of true service and love. Being a queen is NOT about lording over or being above, it is an energy that when held inside your heart, emanates a true, deep, powerful feminine energy, which my friend and amazing transformational artist, Shiloh Sophia McCloud puts to words and picture so well.
I share it with you here...
Every Woman Is the Queen of Her Own Heart Shiloh Sophia McCloud
She must decide how to govern her own domain.
She seeks friends and allies that honor who she is now and who she is becoming.
She has the power to create miracles.
Her prayers and intentions manifest in right order.
She does not know how or when her needs will be met, but she trusts the will of the Divine.
Being the Queen of one's domain is not about being the ruler over anyone else's life or ideas.
And it isn't even about calling herself a Queen.
It is about self honor. It is about choice.
It is about knowing her limits and setting her boundaries.
And about encouraging others to live their possibilities.
It is about learning how to live with what comes her way, with as much grace, majesty and justice as she can.
And sometimes, yes, she has to have her own way!
She claims her unique destiny and recognizes she has a calling.
A calling to greatness within her own life. And within her own heart.
The Queen of Her Own Heart invites others to join her there - in the middle of the awakened sacred heart.
She invites others to love powerfully - unconditionally - while at the same time practicing discernment and wisdom.
She is forgiving. And she believes healing is at hand.
She leads her own life as grand experiment in happiness, in creativity and in abundance.
She offers her gifts to others, but not to her own detriment.
She rests as she needs to, ruling one's own life takes energy.
She chooses to embody wholeness even when she feels fragmented by all there is to do.
She holds the prayers of the world within her because she cares what happens - with everyone - even though she cannot reach them all. She reaches who she can.
She often feels like she is not pulling it all off, and sometimes she isn't. But she keeps reaching anyway.
She keeps opening her heart and being in her own power.
Knowing and sharing her heart is ecstasy.
Sharing the heart of her beloved is absolute and perfect joy.
The year I left my corporate job in 2007, I named "The
year of receiving"... I always pick a mantra for the year based on the
quality that I really want to bring into my life and my self. While I had
always been great at making it happen, a skill very valued in the man-powered
corporate world, I knew that to thrive as a an entrepreneur and a visionary
leader I had to learn how to let things happen, I needed to activate my
feminine super power of Receiving.
Three years later, even after a full
year of learning it, I still find the Feminine Super Power of Receiving one of
the hardest to explain, which seems weird to me on one hand because it should
be as simple as saying, it's just like accepting a present from someone. They
give you a gift, you say thank you. But that doesn't seem to quite cut it. It's
like my achiever brain doesn't register something when I think about receiving
in the biggest context of that is how I live my life. "What do you mean
receive? Do I just sit here on my throne like Queen of Sheba letting my
subjects bring me gifts?" Not exactly. And then you couple that with my
social conditioning that it is better to give than to receive and then all
those frayed guilt synapses I've spent years rewiring start to sparkle just a bit.
So in the absence of being able to
appropriately explain the Feminine Super Power of Receiving to you, I did what any good
achiever does, I decided to do something about it. But unlike my former
achievement junkie self, I waited until I was 'invited' to do something about it.
After finishing my 40 day taking
care of ME practice on February 13th, that little but mighty voice inside my
head, who I have come to know and love as my intuition said to me... let's try
Receiving again. At first my ego was a little bruised, "What do you mean?
I spent an entire year learning how to receive? Do you mean I have more to
learn?" An undeniable YES! was her answer, and now I sit here roughly 20
days since I began, and here is what I have learned...
You'll spend less energy and you'll receive more if you
wait for an "invitation" vs. pushing to make it happen.
Several months ago one of my dear
friends Catherine told me that she had proclaimed a new life rule (she does
this on occasion)... and this time her new life lens was 'I wait to do anything
until I am invited.' And I thought to myself, "Well that is nice, good for
you! And that is a non-apply to me." It was like one of those moments when
you kind of get what someone is saying and on the other hand kind of don't but
in either case, know you don't really want to know more. Of course what I
realize now is that what she shared with me was just sheer brilliance, I was
just not ready to see it
Fast forward to two weekends ago,
early into my 40-day Receiving when I attended the Sister Giant conference in
Los Angeles put on by Marianne Williamson... an event mind you that I was
'invited' to come to another friend. I guess I should have seen the writing on
This other friend is a master at the
although I didn't know it at the time because we've only know each other a few
months. When I say she is a master at the invitation what I mean is that she
let's things come to her. Opportunities arise, she notices them, she says, Yes
or No, and then she moves into them. She's lived her whole life this way she
tells me. And this time my achiever brain goes, "Huh, I think there is
something to this invitation thing!" Both she and Catherine expend
tremendously less energy than I do. No toil to 'make it happen' or 'get it all
done' or 'be in the right place at the right time' or 'have the right plan'...
and yet they are both successful, they are both happy and the truth is that
they are more free to enjoy their lives than I am.
It's not that they aimlessly float
around their lives waiting for someone to invite them to a party or tell them
what they want to do. They have a knowing and a focus on what they want. They
are women of action. And they accomplish great things - from raising daughters,
to writing best sellers, to choregraphing beautiful dances and changing
people's consciousness - no small feats! But they do it with a grace and ease
that until now I know I have lacked, and that I believe that I have officially
not believed worked as well as my tactic of push, push, make it happen.
living by invitation only
I LOVE IT!!!!!
far less work and you get to receive many more of the benefits when you wait.
takes a BIG dose of your intuition to listen to the timing of when to move,
when to stay.
you trust, when you listen to your intuition, and when your energy field is
clear, you will just end up at the right place at the right time. The
invitation will show up, and you will say YES or NO. If it feels good and
right, you always say YES, even if you don't know why... because that is where the magic and the miracles happen.
I lived by invitation for the entire weekend at Sister Giant and the magic that happened for me was profound - I had experiences and met women that I never would have if I had been up to my old achiever ways... and it all unfolded for me.
I am currently still living by invitation which has continued to bring more magic... and questions... but I will save those for another blog. For now, consider yourself the 40-day receiving practice and living by invitation only.
In honor of Women's History Month, I have to out myself. As an educated mba from one of the best educations in the country, I have been ignorant to the truth of our history as women. Sure, I know the facts... but that is not the same as knowing, or feeling, the reality. What I learned in history class didn't come close to telling me the truth of what women have endured just in the last century, let alone the last three hundred, or two thousand years. I got the same scrubbed down version of history that you did -- unless you were a feminine studies major -- straight from the lips of a patriarchal society. Oh, women couldn't vote, so there was this suffrage movement and now they can. Oh, there was this thing called Roe vs Wade that made abortion legal. Oh, women were burned at the stake during this thing called the Inquisition. And yes, there was this other thing called the Feminist Movement that created equal rights. None of those were more than a few pages in any of my history books, how about yours?
And my female relatives growing up didn't make me any wiser about the reality either. They came from the school of "that's just how things were," not the "you need to know these historical realities as a woman because we never want to forget where we come from, and what has been given by the women before us." They didn't make it part of their job as women to pass down the stories of women from generation to generation... and that is a big loss. One that I know after this weekend, I will not repeat.
This weekend -- at the age of 39 -- I finally got WISE! Sitting with 500 women in a hotel ballroom in Los Angeles at the Sister Giant conference, I tapped into and felt in my cells our lineage as women and I felt my heart ache, my eyes well up with tears, and my courage lift as I watched three movies that put me in awe at the bravery and hardships of what generations of women before me have faced.
I say 'tapped into' because as I sat there in that room, it wasn't just
the 500 women that were there, it was also the 500 generations of women that
have lived before invisibly sitting in the seats. While I couldn't see them with my eyes,
I felt them with every fiber of my being. I say 'felt in my cells'
because I experienced the facts that used to sit in my head about women's rights,
witch burnings, transform themselves from ideas to human realities.
When you see a woman being forced fed with the use of a tube up her
nose and a metal device being shoved in her mouth to part her lips and make her eat, suddenly the facts become about a person, they become very human, and your heart receives a message it's not likely to forget -- nor should it.
I let myself be affected this weekend by these films -- something that I am not sure we always do. Our hearts are so closed off in our society, going about our busy busy lives. But to be affected is truly an act of love, both for the self, and for others.
If you are a woman, see these films, and if you know young women watch these with her, tell her this same history. We are visual beings... and I Imagine the world would be much different if we sat and watched movies like this together vs. chatted mindlessly about the problems of the Housewives of Orange County.
Iron Jawed Angels You can vote, you know that. But did you know that women were arrested, beaten, forced fed with tubes up their noses and tortured with the use of iron jaws to open their mouths and force them to eat when they called a hunger strike? Hilary Swank and Angelica Houston rock in this movie that made me cry, cringe and shout with joy.
The Burning Times It's estimated between 1million and 9 million people were burned, tortured and killed during the Inquisition -- 85% of them women -- in an effort to stamp out the goddess and pagan traditions and replace them with the controlling patriarchal structures. You can watch this 20 minute movie on You Tube.
You might have heard the prophecy that it will be women that change the
world. You've most likely heard that the fierceness of a mother
protecting her child is like no other. These women of Liberia prove
them both. They stopped a war torn country from fighting because they
said "ENOUGH! No more war. We want peace." If women with 'no money' can
stop a country from killing each other, what the heck are we capable
I am on board for educating myself as much as I can. If you have other movies or books or DVDs that you think every woman should see, please post it on our Madly in love with ME facebook page. Understanding our history as women is part of accepting and loving who we are. I know I gained great perspective from these films... it's a lot easier for me to love myself and be compassionate when I consider I've never had a feeding tube forcibly stuck up my nose while being detained in a jail against bogus charges.
The unsustainable lifestyle of the modern day
Feed the kids.Get a raise.Loose the weight.Clean the
house.Wear the lingerie.Whew!It is tiring being a woman these days.We have more opportunities, self-confidence
and independence than any generation of women before, yet something isn't
Why is it so
exhausting?And why do we
always feel like we can never catch up?
Being the recovering achievement junkie that I am, as well as a woman on a quest to really understand all the ways women love and don't love themselves this is the answer I have come up with...
all know that the earth needs to be sustainable in order to survive, we've
failed to realized that WE need to be sustainable in order to thrive. We -- our bodies, our minds, our spirits - are NOT SUSTAINABLE based on how we live today, yet we think we should just be able to downward dog, multi-task or prioritize our way out of this... and it's not working!
Think about how many times you've said to your
girlfriend, "I'm so overwhelmed" or "I'd love to but I don't have time." Or
even worse, remember the times you didn't reach out and instead went to that
dark place of feeling super alone, like the entire world was on your shoulders.
Women today face pressures like no other
generation. We have more opportunities but not more happiness. A recent study
by Time Magazine showed women today are no happier than women were in the
1970s, before the women's movement and equal rights.
Does that mean that equality was bad?No, the feminist movement was hugely
important to raising the standards of life for women around the world, and like
anything it had unintended consequences which we now have to deal with so that
we can figure out what is right for today's woman."
The unintended consequences:
many roles. Mom. Money Maker. And Major Caretaker. 40% of women are the
major breadwinners in their families, and 55% report that they still take care
of most of the responsibilities at home. So you can understand why...
Are Running Themselves Into Exhaustion. It's estimated that 80% of women are so
overworked and stressed that they suffer from adrenal gland fatigue, whether
they know it or not. Women slough off or mistreat the symptoms like weight gain, fatigue,
insomnia, depression, cravings and mood swings, and then, because they aren't
listening to their bodies warning signals, they end up with serious health
concerns like auto-immune and thyroid disease.
Can Women Do About It?
been said that women will change the world, and I firmly believe that, however,
we won'tchange anything if we
don't take care of ourselves first! And we need to support each other to do so.
So this year, I am daring every woman to make 2010 the year she takes care of
herself as well as everything else in her life... without exhausting herself in
THE DARE : a 40-day Self Love Practice
kick off this dare, on February 13th, the international day of
self-love (a.k.a. Madly in Love with ME Day), I'm asking you to commit to a
40-day self-love practice called Taking Care of ME. Every morning for 40-days
before you get out of bed, ask yourself, "What do I need to do to take care of
me today?" And then listen. Whatever it says, you have to do it. Take a nap.
Start work at noon. Whatever.
Why? I know that you want to take care of
yourself, but your brain tells you that you don't have time. And time is so not the issue! You literally need to
reprogram your brain to have new beliefs that support you taking care of you.
Beliefs that you can rest, relax and take care of you... and everything will still be taken care of. Brain scientists, yogis and metaphysicans agree if you can do anything for 40
days you can change your habits.
Do you dare???
MY DARE: What I learned from doing this dare.
I've been doing this self love practice for the past 36 days, and honestly, there have been days it has really kicked my butt! Especially the day it said, 'Do Not start work til noon' and I said, "Are you crazy?" I have a presentation, a zillion things to do and then some. But I made the pact with myself so I had to do it, and I did, and what happened? My entire presentation downloaded into me while I was sitting in the sun at 11am, my intern showed up and did a bunch of stuff, and all the pieces fell into place.
I have been learning to trust. I have been rewiring very deep beliefs that if I don't do it, no one will. If I don't do it, my life will fall apart. And I've come face to face again with my achievement junkie who runs me harder than anyone else ever could.
out this clip from ABC-TV where I talk about my 40-day Taking Care of ME Dare.
I wouldn't ask you to do anything I hadn't done myself!
When someone asks you how you are, do you ever say "I am so busy! Or good but busy." Try it now. Stop and say that word, "busy" over and over. Busy. Busy. Busy. Busy. Busy. How do you feel when you say busy? It makes me feel all wound up. No wonder since some of the definitions of busy Include "not at leisure; otherwise engaged" and "officious; meddlesome; prying."
When you say the word busy and busy over again, you can actually feel the vibration of the word, it's is like a bee buzzing all over the place. Remember bees are always busy buzzing. No time for play. They just work and work and work until the queen bee kills them. Not a good deal!
Love Fact: Words matter. Words are sound and sound is vibration and vibration is energy. It's like sonar that you send out into the universe from your voice box. The words we speak send out a vibration that tells the universe who we are and what we want. If you use the word 'busy' you in effect, telling the universe you have too much to deal with and you don't want any more. So if you don't like what you are doing and what is filling your time, use the word busy. It has a negative vibration that will tell the universe, "I am doing lots of things that are keeping me from what I really want to be doing." And the universe will help you take those things away. But, if you like what you are doing yet sometimes feel like it's a lot, say something more like, "My life is really full right now, and I love everything that I am doing... and I could use some playtime!" Then the universe will gift you with that playtime instead of taking away what you love. It's more words to say, but it's worth every syllable. What you need: 1. clarity on how you really love to spend your time 2. a willingness to be your own word police... listening for when you use the word 'busy' 3. a willingness to try different words and notice their impact on how you feel and what you create
Make the commitment. Say out loud, "I give up the word busy."
Go on word police alert. Notice when you use the word 'busy' to describe your current life state.
When you say 'busy' notice how you feel and the energy it creates ... does it make you feel good or does it close you down?
Experiment with other words. When someone asks you, "How's life?" Instead of saying "Busy." Say, "It's really full right now. I am loving what I am doing and I could use some playtime." Notice the difference in how that feels.
After a week of experimenting, notice what you've learned. And take the vow again, "I give up the word busy." This time stick to it.
Being Wise... taking in the wisdom across generations by Christine, age 38
There are lots of questions I have asked my mother that for some reason or another she has not been able to answer. I either get the "I can't remember" answer or the kind of blank stare with a less than satisfying response. So honestly, I have stopped asking questions that require her to divulge anything that is too personal or too 'deep.' And I've accepted that our relationship and the conversations we have will remain at the surface.
So in the perfect world with the perfect relationship - which of course doesn't really exist, what would I ask this mother figure of mine? Well I think of some of the questions I did ask my grandmother that allowed me to create a loving, intimate bond with her during the last six years of her life. I asked her questions about her... "What was it like growing up during the depression?" "Why did you marry Grandpa?" "Tell me about you and Grandpa dancing at big dance halls?" "What did you never do that you always wanted?" She would always answer my questions, and sometimes the answers would be, "I don't know Christine, that is just how life was back then." And I began to realize that this woman was a unique person with her own dreams and desires AND she was also the product of her generation of women. And even though she worked full time, was a divorced mother in the early 1950s when you just didn't leave your husband, supported her mother, and wasn't afraid to share her opinions, she also believed that you did what your husband wanted to do... that you played it safe financially... and that it was the woman's job to worry about her family. Of course some of her choices made me crazy!! But her answers also endeared me to her, because she was honest, and in that honesty I got to know not only the wonderful woman that was my grandmother, but I also got to understand an entire generation of women.
She was part of the inspiration that led me to start this blog and Girltalk... that we may understand each other as women first so that we can heal ourselves, our world and live the lives we were meant to live.
Olive, age 14, says: Unlike most kids, I can talk to my\mother about anything. It doesn't always go down well if she finds out that i was on the computer instead of doing homework but then at least I've told her the truth. I find though that my case is very rare.
First of all, most kids "hate" their parents. Some of them do have good reasons but I don't have any reasons to hate my parents. They feed me, love me, support me, put a roof over my head, etc. I just don't have a good reason.
My parents give me a lot of freedom which is what most parents don't give their kids. This is a main reason why kids "hate" their parents. If the parents don't let them go and take public transportation by themselves or at least with a friend it is only telling the child that "I am way to protective over you" and/or "I don't trust you". Some parents could argue that they are just doing this because they are just protecting you but if you protect your kid too much, when they go off to college they will be scared out of their minds! Can you imagine if your parents NEVER let you just go and hang out with your friends even at a safe place like a mall? They would be so un-independent! We risk our lives everyday and it's important to let your kids take a few risks too otherwise they will end up scared, alone, and afraid. That doesn't really sound like fun, does it?
Janet, age 24, says:
I have always wanted to have a very real conversation about her life experiences when she was in her 20s. My mom has taught me to live with no regrets, but I want to hear about what she would have done differently and when she had the best times. I would love to know what her advice would be to herself in her 20s. We have talked about her college experience and the way she lived her life, but I want to know how decisions she made in her 20s have shaped her life 30 years later. She is my best friend and confidant, and I know her 20s were filled with many ups and downs because of the way she talks about that time of her life. I want to know what moments in her life were difficult for her and how it shaped her. My mom has so much strength and hearing about her life experience gives me an insight as to how her life has taken shape.
I find my 20s have been filled with many challenges that I couldn't anticipate which make life even more fun! Some have been easier than others to get through, but my mom has always been there with sound advice to help me. She doesn't have to reference a specific time of her 20s, but I think her advice stems from her experience. When I am having a tough time with my brothers, she talks to me about her relationships with her brothers during that time of her life. The wisdom she shares is invaluable to me.
Another questions I haven't asked my mom is how she became such a great parent. I would love to know what life experiences have helped to shape her parenting skills. As a stay at home mom, she has raised 4 children with strong values, opinions, and independence. My brothers and I know we can always call her to talk about anything. My mom taught us how to walk with our heads high and stay true to ourselves. My childhood was filled with great memories of being with her at home, running errands, and great vacations. She really did it all for us and made sure we all happy. I admire the way my mom has always stayed true to herself. She is always following her dreams; because of her I have always followed mine.
Jenn, age 36, says:
I am very grateful that I have a close relationship with my mother (who lives in PA). I share a lot with her, am authentic, and ask the questions that are valuable to know. And with the recent passing of my grandmother, my mother and I have had even more deep conversations about family, death, beliefs, and purpose.
My parents are incredibly supportive of my unique work in the field of sex education and intimacy counseling. Even when I started a women's sex toy company a few years ago, my mom took it in stride and asked if I offered a senior citizen discount for her and my dad (which, incidentally, she thought was hysterical, while it made me cringe ☺).
My mom means the world to me.Three years ago she was diagnosed with breast cancer, and a month later underwent a double mastectomy. It was such a terrifying experience, but remarkably she kept an amazing positive attitude throughout and continues to be healthy and thrive. We are always learning from each other, sharing our successes and crying over the fearful aspects of life. My biggest fear is losing my mother. I don't know that my mother knows that.
It's important to me to not compartmentalize my life and not have different facades depending on whether I'm interacting with friends, clients, lovers, family, or students. My career is my passion. My life is my passion. I wear my emotions and vulnerabilities on my sleeve. I never want to feel that I have to hide certain aspects of myself because they will be judged or not accepted. Oddly enough, with all the outright affection and nurturing between my mother and I, we don't end phone conversations with an "I love you." I know my mother knows how deeply I love and cherish her, but I guess this is a good reminder that it never hurts to be explicit with the depth of our feelings.
Anne, age 42, says: The one question I have always wanted to ask my mother is why did she marry my dad? Over the years, I've gotten some interesting responses to say the least. Such as "because he was the one" or "we had so much fun together" or my personal favorite, "because he was ready." I have a feeling the real answer has yet to reveal itself.
What I think is that at the time my mother got married, she didn't feel like waiting was an option. She was 19 when they first started talking about it and in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1964, that's just what you did. I am sure she loved my dad, very sure. Unfortunately, she didn't feel she could make a decision that started with her. I don't think she has regrets, but I think her psyche could accommodate gray.
For me, marriage is a dicey subject. I waited and explored and still did not end up with a good situation. I wonder how my daughters will decide what is best for them.
Believe it or not, the one thing I never asked my mother for was advice on how to have a healthy romantic relationship. Until recently, I was married for 30 years. So, on the surface it appears that I figured this one out - at least for 30 years. But not really!
My parents just celebrated their 62nd wedding anniversary. I truly believe they are a happy couple but when I was growing up I thought what I was observing was a not-so-happy couple. What I didn't understand at the time was that couples disagree. It's part of life. If everyone agreed on everything it would be a boring world! I think youth is wasted on the young. As I got older, my parents got wiser and so did I. But I never felt comfortable enough in my own skin when I was younger to muster up the courage to ask my mom how to keep the man in my life happy. Or how to be happy myself.
When I was a newlywed and my husband and I had our first argument, I remember wanting to rush to the phone and call mommy. I didn't do it. Something stopped me from taking that vulnerable moment and allowing my mother and her wisdom in to soothe me and comfort me. I think I got the "I can take care of myself" gene from her, actually. You might say we've both been stubborn. Once I got married, letting our hair down and being real with each other rarely happened. I found "extended family" to do that with over the years. But I feel I missed a golden opportunity to connect with her for all those years in that heart centered way.
So much water is under the bridge now, there's no need for me to think about what could've been. That's a waste of energy. What I do know is that both she and my dad love me, and I love them. If you are musing over something you want to talk to you mother about, or reveal to her, go for it. I wish I had all those years ago.