Last week was an interesting one. As the United States was bombarded by the snow storm Jonas on the east coast and El Nino fueled rain on the west coast, I was busy diagnosing tornados in the lives of my clients. Both storms were powerful, yet quite opposite at their core. Similarly, the life situations of my readees were deeply related, yet different in nature. Once you read more about their stories, I can guarantee that you can’t help but smile at the co-incidences that this week brought in.
In the past, I had done a lot of work on myself to deeply embrace my femininity. Prior to the readings last week, I did some more energetic work in order to channel and align my feminine energy further. Being women, we have many societal pressures of shouldering responsibilities of everyone around us, managing relationships flawlessly, along with being perfect mothers and wives. My work focused on letting go of these gender based expectations and “shoulds”, while opening up my heart as well in that process. The idea was to offer validation and compassion to myself for being a woman in this world who defines and follows her own path.
In doing this work on myself, I was pleasantly surprised to encounter two clients that were in a similar stage in their lives. It’s amazing how the Universe matches us up with exactly who we need to connect with in every moment.
My first readee was a woman in her late thirties. Let’s call her Maria. The first impression I got from her was that she is very beautiful, feminine and bestowed with a big heart. I saw Maria being in the nursing profession, fully utilizing her softer personality traits to provide care and nurturing to heal people around her. At home, she perfectly played the role of an affectionate mother to her children.
When I zoned into Maria’s life lessons, I saw a past life emerging from a few lifetimes ago. The scene began in UK where I saw her inside a castle in a room with modest interior. She was lying on a bed and crying her heart out around midnight her local time. She was a mistress of a king. The king was affectionate towards her, mainly because she was capable of providing him comfort and solace whenever he felt the need. It didn’t bother Maria that she wasn’t the queen. It didn’t even seem like she was in love with this king. However, she felt that she was good enough and felt validated every time she was able to help the king. In return, the king provided her space to live and food to eat. It was the perfect arrangement, yet it didn’t make her happy. Her emotional needs were unmet and she shared no sense of belonging with the king and the rest of the people around her. Ultimately she lacked fulfillment and felt empty inside, yet she was hesitant to share her thoughts with the king. She was afraid that the king may not like hearing her honest opinion. She felt frustrated with her own self in not being able to speak her mind and to walk out of this situation. Even if she did express her desire, what would she do with her life? Where would she go and how would she restart her life without any support from anyone? As these questions were popping in her mind, I could sense her feeling scared and insecure.
This was an eye opening and powerful realization. Maria had so much strength when it came to taking care of the people around her. However, she was struggling to find her own ground and choose a life that’s joyful and fulfilling. Her life lesson during that lifetime was to exercise power and courage to create a life that she truly desired. Instead of finding the sense of worthiness externally, if she took the opportunity to turn inwards and find it within herself, her insecurities would have turn into confidence and boosted her self-esteem. In this lifetime, Maria’s lesson continues. Now that she’s aware of all the work that needs to be done, I am sure it will be relatively easier for her to reinstate the command of her life, without feeling weak like a victim.
My second readee was a woman as well. I’ll refer to her as Linda. She is in her late forties. She is married and feels very strong and empowered internally. When I scanned her energies, I saw an exotic bird feeling lost in jungle on a dark night. The bird was new and was trying to find a home, but she couldn’t. This imagery showed that Linda feels like she is misfit in the world around her. There is a minimal sense of belonging in her environment and as a result Linda usually keeps to herself. I realized that a lot of this energy in her life emerges from the judgments she experienced from her parents. She has been carrying emotions of shame and guilt in her heart since childhood. Most of this was caused by her non-acceptance of herself as a woman and rigid gender-based standards set by her parents. Her mother, especially, held strong beliefs that being a woman Linda should act and carry herself in a certain way. At the soul level, Linda’s mother was simply trying to point out that Linda needs to embrace her femininity more deeply and let go of this feeling of non-acceptance. As a result, whenever Linda was unable to meet those expectations as a child, she felt judged and criticized. Every child yearns for love and acceptance from their parents. Not having a supportive environment to grow in made Linda question her existence and withdraw from the people around her. Moreover, growing up Linda didn’t have a good female role model to look up to who lives her life feeling empowered. Therefore, in her mind, she held on to many negative connotations related to being a woman and hated herself for being a woman.
As I put my intuitive skills to practice further, I saw Linda in her past lifetime. She appeared to be an army sergeant in Europe during the 16th century. She was an extremely beautiful and attractive woman, but she chose to hide her beauty underneath a military uniform. In those days, women were usually homemakers. Their roles were confined to the cooking, taking care of the children and keeping their men happy. However, Linda was a rebel, to break all the rules to follow her passion to fight in the battlefield. I saw her commanding the army to fight and then getting caught by the enemy after losing the war. At first, the enemy’s army was dumbfounded to see a woman fighting against them. Later, I saw men making mild sexual advances towards her. Linda was an attractive woman, but she despised any male attention. She detested being a woman overall. She was born with a female body, but she hated embracing her softness. In all aspects of life, she felt most comfortable exercising her masculine energy to act from a place of power and control.
This past life scenario was critical for me to understand the lessons applicable in Linda’s current life. As I dug deeper, I realized that she was facing challenges in her existing marriage. Her strong masculine energy overpowers and creates an imbalance in her marriage. It’s confusing for her partner to step into his masculine energy when he’s not given space to do so. This was disturbing the peace within her family. The beauty within marriage overall is that two people can co-create an amazing life together. For Linda, the more she is able to embrace her femininity, the more the male-female balance will be restored and will improve the overall chemistry of her relationship.
Coming to Alignment with Femininity
Both of my readees shared the same core issue, but were on the opposite ends of the spectrum scale. If they ever met, both ladies could learn a lot from each other. While Linda doesn’t take pride in being a woman, Maria deeply embraces her femininity. When Maria struggles with exercising her inner power, Linda can most definitely teach her how to follow her passion and be a go getter in life.
Cultural conditioning, society pressure, gender expectations, family rules etc. don’t matter when any woman finds her passion and true calling in life. It is Maria’s life and she is absolutely free to live it the way she would like. She is not responsible for the happiness and well being of others. Therefore, she doesn’t have to worry about how others will react when she follows the path of her desires and needs.
Linda could learn from Maria’s example, which will help her to release the negative connotations that are associated with being a woman. Being a woman doesn’t mean feeling weak and powerless. Being a woman actually means having tremendous strength to follow your dreams and desires. If you are real, genuine and unapologetic in accepting yourself, the right people will respect you for it. There are plenty of women leaders who have retained their softness, yet created an impeccable impact on the people around them in a powerful way. Mother Teresa is one such example. Without giving birth to a single child, she mothered thousands of people who benefited from her nurturing and care.
As much as we try believing men and women are equal, they are not. I truly believe that women are blessed with their own unique and innate strengths, which are complementary to that of a man. Diane Mariechild said, 'A woman is the full circle. Within her is the power to create, nurture and transform.' In Hinduism as well, it is believed that every woman is Shakti (aka God’s feminine power). When women claim their power and magnificence, they channelize God’s power of creation. This is not just being able to give birth to children, but also includes the ability to create divine nurturing relationships through their natural gift of love. Women are incredibly powerful beings, more so emotionally than physically. We are blessed with a tremendous amount of courage and innate intuition. I write this with a lot of humility that women have an enormous effect on the men around them. Throughout history, we have seen examples where either women have inspired men to greatness or led them to their doom.
Therefore, as women it is our responsibility to stop comparing ourselves and fighting for equality with men. Instead, the true joy lies in embracing our inner femininity, recognizing our divine Shakti and claiming our own internal power. It is also important to build right awareness to find our inner balance and not be in either extreme when it comes to embracing our gender based energy. When this happens, there is no need to play in a man’s game, because our game is completely different and has much greater rewards. As women when we come into alignment with our femininity, we’ll realize what an amazing blessing it is to be who we are. Embracing ourselves will allow us to bring the full manifestation of our power into this world and therefore we won’t be compared to men, but rather be respected for the women we exist to be.
Image source: http://www.sevensistersmysteryschool.com/wpssm/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/woman-spreading-arms-min.png
Have you ever purchased an item of clothing for yourself without trying it on? Were you happy with what you bought? Or were you disappointed in how it fit? In which case you either returned the item or gifted it to one of your family members. In the same light, have you ever placed judgment on something before giving yourself the opportunity to try it out or to take experience of it? Do you still hold the same judgment on it now? Or have you subsequently changed your mind after trying it out?
The Scientist Approach
Scientists go about their work without worrying about success or failure. Typically, there is an idea or hypothesis that they start out with, and throughout the process of their work, they experiment with variables, try on new conditions and eventually come away with an end result or conclusion.
In the same manner, at any given point in our lives, we are well aware of what experiences are available to us. In order to transform those experiences into life experiences, we must do our own experiments. Perhaps we may use certain variables for the experiment, but at the end, we come away with a definite conclusion along with the life experience.
A few years ago, I got interested in Improvisational (Improv) Comedy. My hypothesis was: Improv would be an awesome experiment for me to push my own limits for presentations and using body language for communicating my thoughts. At that time, I started sneaking in episodes of “Whose Line is it Anyway”, to better understand the art form. I found Wayne Brady and Ryan Stiles to be the most brilliant artists on the show. They carried a remarkable presence and were truly magicians with the unknown. Nevertheless, by merely watching the show, I was getting better at observing Improv, but it really didn’t help me in pushing the limits that I had set for myself. Similarly, watching a cooking show doesn't make us better cooks!
I thought to myself; let me modify the variables a bit. Watching TV is one thing, but why not get firsthand experience with Improv? Within a short time, I signed up for classes and was blown away by the experience. I learned more in my first class of doing Improv (though I was atrocious at it) than all the shows that I watched combined. I spent the entire summer that year immersing myself in those classes and came away with an unbelievable growth experience. I enjoyed it so much that even many years later, I still put some of those techniques into practice in my daily life.
Try Before You Buy
The one mindset I’ve kept throughout my life is that of “Try Before You Buy”. When I say this, I’m not merely referring to clothes or material goods, but rather creating unique experiences in my life. The rationale behind this mindset is that in the short time that we have on this planet, there are an infinite number of experiences that we can have. We might not be able to have every single experience that is out there, but at the very least we can explore as many as possible. Brain research suggests that the more we stretch ourselves, the more connections are created amidst our neural network. It makes us incredibly smarter!
In doing this exploration, of course we’ll have our fair share of not so pleasant encounters, but we’ll also run into some amazing events. However, in getting to those unbelievable life moments, one must take the first step and try on distinct experiences for size, similar to my Improv experience.
Thinking back to some of my personal unpleasant moments, as a teenager, I enjoyed playing recreational volleyball games at parks during picnics or at the beach. The passion for the sport led me to try out for my High School Volleyball team during my junior year. I went through two practices and afterwards I noticed that my forearms were thoroughly beaten to a pulp by ‘digging’ the ball a million times. I looked like I had huge black & blue tattoos stamped on my forearms. It got so bad, that I couldn’t even pick up anything with my hands for a few days. Most importantly, by the third practice I recognized that I was not having fun. Therefore, I decided to take myself off the team and stick to the pick-up games. Hence, I filed that experience in my memory under the “This is not joyful enough for me” category.
Keep an Open Mind
When you’re faced with an opportunity to dive into a new experience, realize that it could potentially be a great learning process. Most people don’t see it this way. As a whole, we’re socially conditioned to be close-minded towards the unknown.
Take Yoga for instance. Most men are averse to Yoga simply because of the media portrayal of it as a feminine activity. It is viewed as a gentle activity which helps women during their pregnancies as well as an exercise for stretching and putting oneself in compromising positions. In other words, it’s considered not masculine at all. Despite there being some truth with what is portrayed, this aspect of Yoga only makes up a small percentage of the classes that are out there. There are so many disciplines within yoga, that if a man wanted to take an asana class to build strength, endurance and keep him fit, he can surely find something that suits his taste.
Yet due to the conditioning we receive from external forces, there are many things in our lives that we don’t even give a thought to simply because of our pre-conceived notions. Meanwhile, we are allowing ourselves to miss out on amazing learning experiences.
By engaging in new experiences, there also is an element of fear. Of what will happen if I actually go through with an activity. However, a better perspective to take is to view it as an opportunity to overcome a fear within you. After all, the more we develop the courage to conquer the things that scare us, the more enjoyable life becomes as we’re not hiding behind a facade of fears.
A friend of mine, Jay, once told me an interesting experience he went through to overcome one of his greatest fears. Jay had the fear of heights and was absolutely terrified of anything that required looking down from a great distance above the ground. While in college, his buddies were well aware of his dislike for high elevations. One year, when Jay’s birthday came around, his pals woke him up early in the morning and instructed him that they were going to take him to an undisclosed location to celebrate his birthday. Jay nervously complied and went along with the surprise. As it was early in the morning, and being tired from the night before, Jay dozed off in the car. The moment the car stopped, Jay woke up and noticed that he was at the entrance of an Air Force base. At this point, he was still composed, and went along with the situation. This was until he was informed that he would be going Sky-Diving!! At which point Jay flipped out.
Jay had the perfectly valid choice of hiding behind his fears, or he could choose to conquer his fears once and for all. Jay chose the courageous route (is it even possible to say ‘no’ to an Air Force Sgt?). In addition, he had a spectacular sky-diving session and squashed whatever fear he had of heights.
Our opportunities may not be as dramatic as Jay's, but it’s good to question ourselves on whether we can take part in new experiences to overcome our own fears and insecurities. Are we willing to do so?
Take Lessons From Those Who Have Tread the Path Already
By now, I’m sure you are all ready to go and experiment with anything and everything. However, there is an important caveat to what I mentioned earlier. There are times where experimentation is simply not the best choice. In these cases, taking lessons from those who have tread the path already is crucial. For instance, if we suddenly thought, “Hmm, I’ve never gone over Niagara Falls in a barrel… I wonder what that would feel like?” Based on the experiences of those who have tried it already along with common sense, we can see that experimenting by going over Niagara Falls in a barrel is probably not a smart thing to do. The chances are slim for survival, as many people have died doing so.
The better option is to seek out the 'survivors' of the experience you are wanting. For some, the temptation may be to experiment with certain things, such as immersing oneself with drugs or illegal acts punishable by law. If you truly have the desire to experience something you’ve never done before, then by all means go ahead and do so as you are the only one who is responsible for your life. However, take heed of those who have been there and done that. Ask them about their experiences and reflect on whether you want to have the same experiences.
Most importantly, put everything in perspective. If you trust your own inner scientist and follow the experiences that lead you to the greatest growth and strength of character, then you will never go wrong!
Photo Credit: http://www.birds.cornell.edu/bbimages/clo/images/wedo/themes/theme_research_valley.jpg