From a very young age, I spent a lot of time trying to "get it right". I didn't know what I didn't know and I unrealistically thought I should already know ... everything. I often felt like I was doing something or everything wrong.
It's also interesting that I thought I was the only one who just couldn't be perfect. If only I dressed better, or was funnier, or thinner, prettier, or my hair was straight, or I was smarter. I constantly worked very hard to "fix" myself.
The first weekend in December last year and then, again, the first weekend in February, just a couple of weeks ago, I was part of a team. Mama Gena, the founder of the School of Womanly Arts, hosted a total of over 3,500 women between the two events called The Experience. Our job for each weekend was to hold a kind, supportive container for women to come together and celebrate our common bonds instead of our differences.
When I first took Mastery, which is Mama Gena's flagship course, several years ago, I was immediately struck by the open, loving atmosphere where all the women in the room were celebrating each other. I had felt the culturally acceptable affect of the patriarchy much of my life and accepted it as "the way it is".
I've been in the biz of working with and helping pregnant women and new moms for over 37 years. It still amazes me how the patriarchy continues to insinuate itself into women's lives ... and, we let it!
What is this patriarchy? Many, many years ago, some very scared men decided that women should not be allowed to band together for their power was fearsome and they felt threatened. They decided that a very effective way to deal with this was to turn women against each other and it worked. Sadly, it meant that women not only learned to distrust other women, but also themselves. However, in the end, a punitive, patriarchal system did not and does not benefit anyone,
So, for example, when women have babies, even after carrying them for 3
trimesters/40 weeks (more or less)/9 months and popping the little boogers out, we still don't give ourselves much credit. Pretty much everyone will treat us like we're "done", it's over, get on with your life, already, and we fall into that insane trap ourselves. The truth is, there is a six-week (at the very least), postpartum period that we rarely honor and it gets us into the worst trouble. For the most part, we tough it out, pull through (by the skin of our teeth) and at great cost to our physical and emotional and psychological health, we pretend "everything's fine", "I can do this". Culturally we are not supported and we sure as heck don't dare admit what's really going on, especially to other women, even though we might see that we are all struggling.
AND, we don't dare ask for help. Who wants to look like a wuss or, to be rejected, especially by our "sisters", aka other women. It's almost as if we are damned if we're going to admit how tough it really is (damned if we don't, too) and we're sure as hell not going to let on to other women that we feel crazy, out of control, and, let's face it, angry. Something's not right and there's nowhere to go with how we feel. So, we normalize it and think there's something "wrong" with us and not the culture, the system.
Bonding with the women Mama Gena brings together is incredibly healing. The community that is created as well as the tools we learn open up a whole, new world of possibility. Women of all ages and from all over the world gather for three weekends in March, May, and June. Mastery happens just once a year and the next series of classes and phone calls begins March 24. You can go to www.mamagenas.com and check out her Programs. I highly recommend it.
This week's Monday Quote was inspired by my weekend in February:
"It's not about finding what's 'wrong' with us
and 'fixing' it.
Life is about getting to know and love
ourselves and figuring out where
our gifts and talents are most
I would add just one more thing ... it's also about finding a sweet, caring, encouraging community. This is what I wish for you!
A little Weight Watcher's Update: A few weeks ago I admitted I needed to get more healthy, lose some weight and do it all sanely and eating foods that work best for me. So far, I'm losing a little more than a pound every week. Last week I found myself "wishing" I was losing more and faster. I could use that as an "excuse" to give up, because it's not happening the way I want, but I also want to keep getting healthier so I'm sticking with it.