I facilitated an expressive writing class today. There were to be ten people attending. Only a few women showed up. It didn’t matter. I love working with women as there is much in their experience that is difficult, if not impossible to get into when men are in the group.
I understand that men have their traumas and their pain, and indeed, we are all human and can share the pain. However, for women struggling to make sense of their pain, shame, and guilt, having a single sex group is helpful.
I enjoy engaging with women. The irony of that statement is grounded in my youthful dislike of women. I didn’t know then what I understand now. That is not to say that I have patience for those females who are superficial, mean-spirited, or airheads. Listen, I never said I wasn’t judgmental.
We learn from the stories other women share with us. Years ago, I wrote a non-fiction book on women and creativity. The stories that were offered to me during those interviews were precious. For the most part, after speaking for a short time, the raw stories of these women tumbled out. I was honored that they shared so openly with me.
I have taught many workshops, most of them to women and every time, the sharing has had a profound impact upon me and others. I cherish those women, their honesty, their courage and their willingness to share.
Sometimes I run so fast I can’t see where I am going
Sometimes, I walk forward but twisted with my gaze backwards
Mourning all that I have missed
At times I am propelled in this or that direction lost in my confusion
I miss the path that takes me forward closer to my destination
Sometimes I walk but my gaze is down and once again I have missed where I have been
Other times I manage to move forward with eyes absorbing everything around me
At times, my soul is lifted by my surroundings; feelings of elation about the journey and my present fill me with peace
I know these moments well, I have memorized their sensations still I wonder off the path forward and struggle to return again.
I wonder why I do not stay where my feet are moving and keep my glance here within and without me
At times I am amazed at far I will go tormenting myself before I take the next step forward and lift my eyes to see and return to the path I am on now
There are recurring themes in my life that at times get bothersome. Those themes generally revolve around my children’s well being, being in a long term marriage, being a woman and earning money. Beyond that, there are those other themes that are broader, a bit less personal, but real for me: hunger, poverty, war, government, freedom and the like. These themes are powerful motivators in anyone’s life. However, when I get stuck in the personal stuff, I find that the more attentive I am to my life the more complicated I make it or rather, the more complicated my responses become. When I get mixed up with my emotional responses and forget to frame any issue in some context, I am doomed. The over-arching feeling can best be described by recalling the TV commercial by Federal Express where the workers, expecting delivery of their mail to be late, over dramatically state “we are DOOMED, DOOMED, DOOMED!”By nature, I tend toward the feeling of being “DOOMED.” Luckily for me and I guess for those close to me, I can catch myself and work to be NOT so doomed. Still, these feelings, spurred on by the negative connotations I can read into the recurring themes in my life, are powerful. Over the years, I have learned to lessen the impact of these negative feelings. I have learned to stop and reconsider my perspective. Sometimes, I am more successful at this than at other times. What can I say, there appears to be a part of me that likes to be “DOOMED” I am addicted to pain and drama.I grow weary on such days, especially when such a day becomes a series of days. Today, I began “DOOMED.” But, as the day has progressed, I have determined that I will not end the day “DOOMED.” That there is nothing soooo terribly wrong in my life. Things in some context could be better, but in general, everything is alright. I just need to gain control of my very dramatic self and say, “Oh, Please! Get over yourself!”
I want to write. I struggle at times to write. But then, I struggle at times period. What stops me from doing that which I need to do? Only the gods know. I marvel at my ability to deny that which feeds my soul. I yearn for more in my life, but then, allow life to stop me. Strange business this living.I interviewed a woman today for a column I write in a women’s magazine. She was a bright, articulate, driven woman. Her life was different from mine. She overcame adversity more than once and each time rose to the occasion. I have actually never met a woman who did not rise to the occasion– whether that was coping with illness or surviving a vicious divorce.Women survive. That is the truth of the matter. Actually, they do more than survive. I think there is something about womanhood that may or may not be essential to the female nature, but that provides us with the potential to thrive–to do more than just cope.In the end, I sometimes feel disheartened by it all. I have many things to be thankful for and yet I succumb to the negatives. That is my fatal weakness, or character flaw. So, when I meet a woman who has the ability to inspire action, I try to pay attention–I try to remember that I too can be inspiring. I refocus my attention to reality: the universe is filled with abundance and that I can be inspired and inspiring it is my choice. I am here for a purpose, my voice is needed. I must take responsibility to fulfill that purpose.
I went to a Goddess store this AM to promote my book: Awakening Minerva: The Power of Creativity in Women’s Lives and to promote my workshop on creativity. The store owner was a petite, attractive woman with big blue eyes who spoke easily about dance and meditation.
There was a hip hop class going on in the studio as we spoke out in the store. We talked about dancing, about dance and sexual energy, different forms of dance and meditation. We spoke about expanding or releasing one’s energy through dance, which entails a connection to that place deep inside of each of us, male or female, that houses the sexual.
As we spoke about these things, I mentioned that I was from a different city– perhaps 40 , 50 minutes away. She told me about the long distances that other women traveled to take dance
classes at the goddess studio. Different dance classes. I learned that there was one woman, who happened to be from my city, who came to the studio every morning to dance for two hours before she would travel back to do her days work.
She owns her own business and thus can determine when her work day begins. The thought of taking two hours every day to dance before she begins her work is spectacular. What a gift to herself and probably everyone else who works with her including her clients.
That is the point really. If we give ourselves, perhaps better phrased, allow ourselves the time to fulfill our needs physically, emotionally, spiritually, we are always better equipped to deal with the day’s challenges. I didn’t speak with this woman, she was dancing. But I certainly was inspired by her discipline and her strength to say: this is what I need.
We all need to be inspired. Look around you today and see what messages the universe is providing you.