Two of the (many) things that I love and am passionate about are Archetypes and Empowering women....and I have something coming very soon merging both of these!
As I have been researching and creating; I have been asking myself and looking around to see what I was told about being a woman as I was growing up (not just by my family, but by school, in my early career and by society in general) and where or if these things have changed much at all.
I grew up in an era that was very much for empowering women but in a disempowering way!!
We were told the story that we could have it all; that we could succeed as much as a man (oh lucky us!!) in any career that we wanted....and yes to an extent I do believe that was true. However, I received the very clear message, that this was achievable only as long as we became "pseudo-man,"only as long as we ignored, hid away, those traditional feminine qualities and embraced the strong, powerful, successful male qualities. I did it quite well. In my early years in the City; I was pretty skilled at drinking - I could match (and beat) most men with my drinking prowess; something I was quite proud of then, but I actually cringe when I think about it now.
In order to be successful, feelings and emotions couldn't really exist; logical, rational, quick, decisive thinking was valued. There was no concept of relationship building, support, nurturing, nourishment - it was dog eat dog and be successful at whatever cost. I do understand that in that fast paced world - things needed to be acted on now.......but looking back I think it was quite scary how I, and a lot of my female colleagues, quite easily adopted this different persona. We knew how we had to be to get the job done and so we did it.....and it soon spilled over into all parts of our lives - so we were still that person at home, at play and in our relationships. We mistakenly believed that is who we were.
I do think it was a great training ground.
I also have immense gratitude it is no longer a role I need to play. (I do know from friends that still work in those environments that things have changed a lot since then). I am pleased I had that initiation and grateful for the skills I learned at that time; it has been empowering to have those inner resources and behavioural flexibility to pull on when I have needed them.
There is a difference between who we are and the behaviours we can do.
I found that by the time I left that environment ( shortly after getting divorced); I found myself rather cut off from many of the feminine aspects of myself. I will confess, I found some typically feminine traits irritating, and I felt a bit lost - not really knowing who I was.
This led to my deep interest in archetypes as I went on a journey to discover, first of all:
Who am I?
When we take away the labels, the role in a family, any career or job title?
Who am I?
Once I had those answers.....I wanted to go deeper and to know,
"Who am I as a woman?"
This was harder; it meant bringing back in aspects of the feminine that I had denied, and some parts that I actually despised.
As an example; in my confusion, I mistook vulnerability for weakness and being the victim.
I now know (in my soul not just in my logical understanding) that it takes a massive amount of strength to allow ourselves to be vulnerable.
It is far easier to keep the armoury on and stay slightly removed, strong and independent. That is how I was for many years; it kept me safe. Whilst I licked my wounds in private, this armour kept me safe. When we embrace it for a short time, it is our protection and very necessary, whilst we start to heal. But if we keep it there for too long, it hardens and becomes our prison, and becomes our habitual place and it is harder to escape from.
Overtime, I allowed that armour to soften, I allow the vulnerable part of me to be seen, I allowed myself to start to bring back in all of those parts that I had disowned to become more whole and more authentically Allison.
As I have now reached that time that maybe called "The Wisdom years" I feel I am now finally moving fully into my power as a woman. It has been a journey and I know there is still work to be done. Like many of my friends and colleagues; we have all been triggered over the last few weeks....and I am at the same time embracing a new challenge and wanting to say - What more??? Really? Oh OK then - let's go again on the next roller-coaster ride!!
What about you? Does this resonate? Where are you on that journey to self discovery?
I am currently working on some exciting projects behind the scenes, one will be launched this Autumn, the other probably Summer 2018....
It has been interesting - to work on these projects; I have had to draw boundaries. I have had to say no to things that in the past I said yes to. This has been a big part of my most recent journey. How do we feel about upsetting another to be true to ourselves? Another thing from our conditioning, or certainly from mine - that to be "nice" or to be liked was more important that honouring your truth.
No more - I cannot not honour the truth of my soul.
It is shouting too loud!
Anyone else hear their soul waking up, whispering or shouting at them to be heard?
Come and join my tribe!!