I was recently reflecting on what it is to be an empowered woman. There are many versions of this portrayed in the media, movies and out there in the real world. And there are different spins on it, depending on the social groups you belong to and what sorts of ideals and beliefs they subscribe to.
One thing I know for sure, is that there is always an element of 'toughness' or 'hardness' in there, a sense of being absolutely in control of your own destiny at no expense. There's often a rivalry with men, and a fight to have what is rightfully 'ours'.
Once upon a time I would have said that I was an empowered woman for subscribing to that image. I was a business owner, super fit, financially independent, with a wide social network - I was making my own way through life and doing it in style. I had high levels of motivation and could pretty much kick myself into gear for anything that needed doing. I was a master at doing... and not stopping.
It wasn't until I came across the work of Universal Medicine, via regular esoteric healing sessions with Sara at Living Stillness, who then pointed me in the direction of Natalie Benhayon (see previous post), that I began to truly understand what it means to be an empowered woman... and really started to feel the impacts that my hard, driven ways were having on my body... and how false this idea of empowerment was.
Creating an image of being together and having it all is not empowerment. Running myself on nervous energy to create that image is definitely not empowerment. Willing myself to run for km's on end is not empowerment. Boxing hard, tough, often paired up with men - is not empowerment. Lifting heavy weights and smashing goals was not empowerment. It is being a slave to societies expectations and the images that are portrayed to us... and none of this is true.
The thing is, I didn't know it at the time. I didn't know that's what I was doing, and I wasn't even aware of the images and ideals and beliefs I had. I certainly didn't know I was running on nervous energy, and I was barely even aware that I lived with a low-grade anxiety all the time. I was just doing what I thought I was supposed to be doing. What everyone else was doing. Fitting in with the crowd. And I just kept on doing it. Talking myself into it. Pushing myself to keep on going with it.
What I have learnt from the work of Universal Medicine, Serge Benhayon, Sara Harris, Natalie Benhayon and many others... Is that true empowerment comes from a connection with ourselves. Imagine the greatest love you have ever felt for another being (or animal if you're a puppy person)... and then magnify that, towards yourself, one hundred fold. That is what it feels like to live in connection. But it's not flighty or emotional. It doesn't switch to hate the moment you get hurt. There is a stillness to it, a gentle rhythm. There is no need for drive, motivating oneself and there is definitely no kicking oneself into action... for in the stillness is an impulse, that moves me and inspires me to act, do and be.
True empowerment is also about knowing that everything in my life is a direct result of my choices - and I am responsible for these choices. The choices we make day in, day out, week after week, month after month, leave an impact on our bodies, on how we feel about ourselves and about how we feel about our place in the world.
Making self-loving choices is empowerment in action. Going against the crowd and saying no to drinking alcohol (as it left me feeling scattered, depressed, and so totally not myself) is being empowered. Leaving a party early to put myself to bed because I'm tired is being empowered. Saying no to going somewhere or doing something I don't feel to do, rather than being peer-pressured, or guilted into it, is being empowered. Taking time to lovingly get myself ready in the morning, paying attention to the details, nurturing me and my body in the process - is being empowered.
True empowerment comes from seeing the pictures, ideas and images we have as women (& men), and saying no to these... and choosing instead to connect to ourselves and feeling what's true. It is allowing ourselves to surrender, to be gentle and delicate, without giving our power away. It's to appreciate the qualities of the female body, and how these differ to a mans body. And it is about loving and seeing men as our equals - for we are no more or no less than they - yet with much different physical make ups than ours... and not feeling the need to equal them. (Oh yes, I know that one well!).
True empowerment comes from within. And when we live in connection with us, as empowered women, we begin to radiate that outwards into the world.