A reflection: International Women’s Day

The rumble of the soul says it’s ready to RISE

The last show ended, the credits rolled, and I was totally fired up. The last “The Morning Show” episode was p-o-w-e-r-f-u-l.

Far from the funny, feel-good show I was expecting, I almost gave up on it. But given its stars Jennifer Aniston, Reece Witherspoon and Steve Carrell, I stuck it out and am so glad I did.

If you’re more in the t.v. loop than me, you may know that it addresses sexual harassment and misconduct, the #MeToo movement, and is seemingly inspired by the former Today Show host Matt Lauer’s fall from grace.

Rather than providing a review of the show, I’ll point you here if you’d like one. Instead, I’d like to share the unexpected impact it had on me, and invite you to a conversation.

I offer this, because after watching with my husband, what emerged were some pretty deep, uncomfortable, yet great conversations revealing some surprising truths, unconscious biases, and blindspots for both of us.

Despite thinking I’d processed my “stuff” during the initial #MeToo movement, it turns out there was so much more I hadn’t given thought to. A floodgate opened to many memories that were hiding back there, that had been locked down deep – previously justified, excused, “handled” and forgotten about.

These more subtle, insidious experiences are no less damaging and just as influential on our identity, self-image, confidence and voice.

This is not a victim-plea, but rather an empowered revelation of a lifetime of memories from a new lens that says,

“That wasn’t actually okay. You are right to feel how you did. You now have a voice that matters and will be heard. You don’t have to tolerate that ever again.”

What a powerful contrast to the lens of,

“This is just how it is as a woman. Don’t take it seriously or be so sensitive. If you don’t like it, adjust yourself accordingly and find a way to deal with it. It’s easiest to just accept it, laugh it off, play along, or use it as your power. If you don’t, you won’t survive this world.”

I’m curious – can you relate to any of this so far? Or perhaps, something else is coming up for you?

This is what I’m inviting a conversation to, as it’s a very strange and unsettling feeling to look across one’s life with new eyes and see a very different story to the one you’ve been living from.

Yet it can also be freeing and exciting.

When I tell my coaching clients, “We can’t change the past, but we can heal the past.” what I mean is that although the facts don’t change, how we see and relate to them can. And in essence, that “changes” our past, and is a powerful way to heal.

What I experienced here was similar, but instead of an open wound that we brought healing to, this experience felt more like a re-breaking of a previously broken bone that had healed over time, but not been set properly.

Re-breaking is painful as it disturbs all the scar tissue and calcified bone that got laid down for additional (and necessary) protection. As much as the re-breaking is painful, the re-setting allows it to be re-aligned properly, heal more effectively, become stronger, and release the impact on surrounding areas.

From an emotional standpoint, this “re-breaking” invites release from the old, heavy layers of self-protection that we continue to use but which no longer serve, have undesirable backfires, and which continue to separate us from the freedom, liberation, deep joy and inner peace we long for.

So, how do we do this?

I’m still reflecting on this question (and hence the invite for conversation), but what comes up so far for me is this:

  • We harness the courage to go there.
  • We dare to be bold as we question what we’ve spent lifetimes coming to accept and normalize.
  • We bravely and honestly acknowledge both the impact it had on us, as well as our own complicity in the narrative – and the impact of that.
    (This is one of the hardest parts, that few do, but finding our own responsibility without casting blame, is actually the only way to reclaim our power.)
  • We engage in dialogue with respect, openness, and a compassionate heart.
  • We walk through the fire together.
  • We do our healing. 
  • Then we RISE.

As we shine the light, reach out, speak up, share with trusted sources, provide and offer support, we get to heal what hurt – and what may have been unconsciously hurting for longer than we knew.

We realize that we aren’t alone, nor were we wrong for feeling the way we did.

…we weren’t crazy.

…we weren’t over-reacting or being overly dramatic.

…we were actually feeling the pain of the inherent TRUTH, hidden by a culture that desensitized us all to it and made it “normal”.

As journalist, Megyn Kelly shared in an interview:

“This is not a small matter. This is a huge deal… I feel like this is the first moment we’re starting to think maybe it doesn’t have to keep happening. Maybe we won’t be the nice women and girls we’ve been raised to be…. Enough of that. Enough of that.

(watch interview here)

Pendulums and Birthing Pains

Unfortunately, births and their aftermath are really painful. And there’s simply no getting around it.

Similarly, re-birthing a new culture can leave a lot of carnage and collateral damage, especially for those who bought into it, and acted from it in ways that caused pain and suffering.

As women rise up from centuries of oppression, repression, post-generational trauma and abuse, the pendulum is now beginning to swing to the opposite extreme.

The united roar has begun, and it will not return to silence. 

The Light of Hope

The rumbling is deep and the sacred feminine is rising – not just in women who are awakening, but in men as well.

We stand on the shoulders of giants – some of the bravest women and men who let their voices be heard, not just when it wasn’t accepted, but when it was dangerous.

We are part of an on-going movement that is seeking a voice of truth and reason, empowerment and equity, love and healing, and a re-righting.

This is an incredible time to be a woman, and an incredible time to be a human being willing to awaken.

Right now, we are part of a movement that will change the rest of history for the betterment of all.

Beware the Dark side…

As the rumbling grows, and buried anger surfaces, we can be seduced into the pull of powerlessness, rage, blame, shame, righteousness, revenge, punishment and hatred.

And this is where we risk keeping the infinite warring with each other, and within, alive.

For positive change and healing to occur, we must beware of the pull to the dark side, as we honor our feelings, but not react in kind.

The Call to RISE

On this day, I want to acknowledge any and all suffering you’ve experienced in your life – big or “small”, simply because you were a woman.

I want to acknowledge the incredibly strong lines of women you come from, and any of the men who were awakened enough to support them.

I want to acknowledge the generations of women in your family who suffered, and made the best lives they could under oppressive circumstances we’d find nearly impossible to imagine now.

I want to acknowledge who you ALL had to be in your family – both men and women, in order to survive and do the best you could – even if hindsight shows that it wasn’t always great.

As we know, pain breeds pain. Hurt breeds hurt. And trauma traumatizes.

Only love can heal.

As the self-development and self-help world has only emerged recently, there has likely been a lot of pain passed down through the generations of your family lines that wasn’t healed. This invites some of the greatest healing transformations to be done by us.

And that’s really hopeful, not just to ourselves, but to our families, future generations, and the world.

There is truly no greater work than this.

So, as we continue our journey of healing, awakening, and becoming the strong, courageous, loving, and empowered women we’re being called to become, I offer this thought meditation, and also invite you to add to it or create your own:

May we be willing to awaken.

May we heal what hurts.

May we be brave in our fear and vulnerability.

May we be compassionate in our anger.

May we seek to listen and understand, at least as much as we seek to be heard and understood. 

May we rewrite old narratives and unconscious biases that continue to oppress, especially the ones alive within ourselves.

May we do the tough inner work of recognizing, acknowledging, and processing our emotions with courageous, tender and forgiving hearts.

May we stand tall, strong and firmly grounded in our worth and wholeness.

May we see the light in ourselves, as much as we see it in others.

May we be liberated from the self-protective shackles and heavy armor that’s no longer needed.

May we unite and RISE together.

Happy International Women’s Day!

Should you wish to engage in further dialogue, I’d love to hear from you. Please comment below or send me an email.

In the meantime, keep loving, keep shining, and keep being all you are!