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How the Goddess Lilith got me out of my funk…

How the Goddess Lilith got me out of my funk…

Meet Lilith. A Middle-Eastern goddess of abundance and fertility (she gifted humans with agriculture) as well as death and transformation. Pretty powerful, eh?

I picked this beauty from my Goddesses Knowledge Cards pack last week and she’s been perched on my laptop ever since.

Not just because of the abundance – after all, we could all do with a bit of abundance – but also because of her story.

I was feeling a bit fragile as well as angry last week (solar eclipse + heavy work load + 14 weeks of 3 small kids at home with me + pre-menstrual + trying to work out what my soul “message” was = overwhelm), so the fact that she was the first woman created and the first wife of Adam “who refused to be subordinate to him in any way” inspired me. In a just-get-out-of-your-own-head-and-start-seeing-the-bigger-picture kind of way.

Because that is my kind of feminism: refusing to be subordinate to ANYONE. Not out of defensiveness or from a place of aggression. But out of a place of self-worth. The energy is very different. Lilith honours who she is by respecting her own needs, dreams and desires. She sees these as equal to anyone else’s.

For when you are truly empowered, there is no need to put anyone else down in order to feel good about yourself. There isn’t a finite amount of “feel-good pie” which requires one to have less than the other.

We are all entitled to abundance, self-worth, success, fulfillment and happiness. Every single one of us. And wishing for it for yourself DOES NOT mean that someone else has to make do with less. There is more than enough to go round.

True empowerment comes from within. A knowing that you are unique and beautiful and a gift to the world, whatever your flaws, whatever your imperfections and deepest secrets.

And Lilith models this beautifully because she is also associated with the lotus – that gorgeous flower that blossoms out of dark, decaying earth.

The symbolism here is that Lilith therefore encourages, and challenges us, to integrate our own darkest shadows however they manifest in us. She inspires us to look at the aspects of us that we prefer to keep private because they are shameful or “not nice” – our meanness, our superiority, our unkindness, our manipulation, our viciousness for example – and accept that they are indeed part of us.

Because when we can do this, they then have less of a hold over us.  We can can control them or choose whether or not to act out upon the impulse behind them. We become aware: conscious not just instinctual.

And that leads to FREEDOM…

THIS is what I needed to be reminded of last week. When I was feeling overwhelmed, emotional and frustrated. Lilith inspired me to own all of my feelings, even the “negative” ones, to love and accept that part of myself, and then from a place of wholeness and self-worth – subordinate to no-one – to pick myself up and get on with being me. Unique and flawed and precious. Just as I am. Just as you are.

Lilith helped me see the bigger picture. I’d love to know if and how Lilith resonates with you? Let me know in the comments below! 

 

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Women’s Empowerment starts young!

Women’s Empowerment starts young!

There is no doubting whose daughter this is…

Not only did she ask to get her hair cut short aged 5 (I did the same aged 7), but for her birthday manicure/pedicure treat she went for blue toes and neon hands (non-matching obvs)…

I can’t think where she gets her independent streak from…And I couldn’t feel prouder.

Because despite the fact that it has often been a MAJOR source of irritation to me – let’s face it, independent thought and obedience don’t fit that well together – I couldn’t wish more for a young girl growing up in this day and age.

For the world out there is tough. Social media is pervasive. Opinions on what a woman should do, look like, feel, eat, wear and how they should behave have never been stronger.

So women’s empowerment needs to start young. And it is our duty as parents to model this at home. Which doesn’t mean allowing our daughters to disregard all of the house “rules” and run amok (no, no, no – I’m a Gina-Ford-parenting-control-freak, remember?) but it does mean allowing them to express themselves in whichever way feels real to them. Because THIS is (time for my buzz word here) AUTHENTICITY.

Because children do have their own, unique voices and opinions, even at a young age. And if we stifle those by overruling them with OUR needs and desires, all the time, just because we have been put “in charge” as parents, then they quickly learn that theirs are not valued and therefore that there is no point in articulating them.

And in a society that doesn’t value women as highly as it does men as a whole, this damage lasts well into adulthood. Until we take the momentous leap of faith required to trust in ourselves again. To listen to our intuition. To our excitement (that’s a yes!) and to our hesitation (that’s probably a no!). Sound familiar?

If we weren’t allowed to speak our minds when we were little, we quickly fall out of practise. Because it is a muscle that needs constant stimulation.

So whilst it may seem like a small thing to have acted upon her desire to cut her hair short, and an even smaller thing to let her choose her own nail varnish colour, it isn’t. It is huge. And there are so many parents our there vetoing similar choices. Which is such a shame. Because I saw with my own eyes how her behaviour changed from one day to the next: I have a voice! It counts! I can use it to express myself!

Women’s empowerment starts at home. It starts with our girls. Whatever their age. I DARE YOU…

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Cool has no age limit…

Cool has no age limit…

owning my power aged 7
owning my power aged 7

YES. And I feel this even more so now that I am edging into the ‘older’ lady category at the grand old age of 40. I came across this article on social media the other day and it inspired me to write about owning your own power.

http://www.revelist.com/hair/older-women-cool-hair/774

These photos show women that are doing just that. Without aggression. With grace. And elegance. And a sense of joy and fun! They are unafraid of what others think of them; they need no external validation. They know their own worth and they have given free reign to their creativity. Ok – most of these shots are focused on hairstyles but still it’s pretty daring to express yourself even in this ‘minor’ way in today’s disapproving, compartmentalising day and age.

My punk phase aged 12
My punk phase aged 12

This is the power that we women all need to harness – our courage to express ourselves authentically. To let our inner Warrior guide us not our emotional-caretaking, people-pleasing sides. Through our hair, our outspoken thoughts and feelings, our clothing, out ATTITUDES. When women are empowered they can change the world. FACT.

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Nupi Lan

Nupi Lan

The women from the Indian state of Manipur have their own word for empowerment – ‘Nupi Lan’. This means no less than ‘women’s war’ and twice during the 20th Century they have waged it to fight against exploitation by the imperialist British. And they won!

They continue to show the power that comes from collective collaboration by running a women’s-only market, featured here:

https://www.facebook.com/EliteDaily/videos/1164828160235481

Yet more proof that through coming together, women can achieve the previously unthinkable.

A market in Jodhupur. Markets around the world are often predominantly run and frequented by women.
A market in Jodhupur. Markets around the world are often predominantly run and frequented by women.

Manipur is on the border of India and Myanmar – two countries we plan to visit as part of our year-long trip ‘living like locals’ across Asia. I hope to absorb some of this inspiring energy that combines a Warrior spirit with the calm insight of Buddha!

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The importance of grandmothers…

The importance of grandmothers…

Message from the Council of 13 Indigenous Grandmothers:

“As you move through these changing times… be easy on yourself and be easy on one another. You are at the beginning of something new. You are learning a new way of being. You will find that you are working less in the yang modes that you are used to.

You will stop working so hard at getting from point A to point B the way you have in the past, but instead, will spend more time experiencing yourself in the whole, and your place in it.

Instead of traveling to a goal out there, you will voyage deeper into yourself. Your mother’s grandmother knew how to do this. Your ancestors from long ago knew how to do this. They knew the power of the feminine principle… and because you carry their DNA in your body, this wisdom and this way of being is within you.

Call on it. Call it up. Invite your ancestors in. As the yang based habits and the decaying institutions on our planet begin to crumble, look up. A breeze is stirring. Feel the sun on your wings.”

This pretty much sums up how I am TRYING to live my life from now on. I’m probably trying too hard (as always) which falls into the masculine, yang category of “pushing” rather than “allowing”, but it’s a start.

The irony is that it takes warrior courage (and therefore a little bit of pushing) to transform ourselves from one mode of being to another, even if the new mode is softer and calmer. We need our Warrior to tap into our Buddha; and if I and others can indeed remember to call in the love, guidance and wisdom of our female ancestors to whom this came far more naturally than to our confused, patriarchally-repressed selves, then bit by bit we can change the way we live and create a place in which yin and yang, feminine and masculine energies, the Buddha and the Warrior, are in perfect harmony, finally.

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The ‘second’ sex?

The ‘second’ sex?

Lying in my sick bed, I just listened to a recent recording of a discussion on Simone de Beauvoir, the intellectual, philosopher and feminist’s life and works. Touching on topics as varied as existentialism, the patriarchy, how motherhood is not a feminine given and that we are as “natural” at it as men are paternal, menstruation and bodily functions, The Second Sex – the book that launched her career (I was going to put “seminal” but that is completely inappropriate given the subject matter) is now firmly on my Xmas list.

It is both depressing (in that not that much has changed since) but also inspiring that there have always been great, strong, outspoken women such as this pioneering a redefinition of our role in society.

Have a listen to the podcast and let me know what you think?

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a call to action…

a call to action…

I think I love this woman…

I got serious goosebumps listening to it. For me, this is just so inspiring – a woman who is not afraid to shake things up, not afraid to speak her truth, who calls on us to rise up and “resist” the status quo. And yet her message is also about purifying the heart, love and finding our divine soul purpose. If we can do that and become the “passionate freethinking adults” she is calling us to become, then, as she says, we not only become “difficult to manipulate” but also “impossible to control”.

Did you enjoy this post? Let me know in the comments or by sharing it with other social media! I’d love to keep sending you updates so feel free to sign up to receive posts by e-mail and click subscribe. Don’t forget you can also follow me on facebook,twitterinstagram & bloglovin!